Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.
A bill proposing restrictions on Colorado’s new marijuana delivery program has failed and was unanimously postponed by a legislative committee after the sponsor requested the withdrawal on May 6th.
House Bill 1159, introduced in March by El Paso County Democrat Marc Snyder, would have required a minimum number of days and hours of shop operation for pharmacies applying for a delivery license. His proposal called for any pharmacy with a delivery permit to be open at least five days a week for five hours a day and restrict delivery sales to products that were available in physical stores for the same price.
The bill went through a number of changes, including changes to allow online pre-sale for delivery – already fine under Colorado’s current delivery program, but originally geared towards Snyder’s bill – and Snyder himself proposed the five-hour -Reduce the daily operation requirement to three hours. But persistent opposition from supporters of the original delivery program persuaded him to call for the bill to be withdrawn, citing “philosophical differences”.
Prior to the vote, Snyder told the committee that his bill was “trying to put some security in place” on the delivery program and expressed concern that he “doesn’t want shell stores” that are run as delivery-only models. Some of Colorado’s largest pharmacy chains, including LivWell and the Green Solution, have opposed the delivery framework created by the current law, with opponents fearing that Amazon-like department stores could exploit a language that doesn’t require delivery approval with an active one , be connected to the shop window front in operation.
“I feel obliged to the people who embarked on this path in 2012 [and] began opening recreational stores in 2014, “said Snyder, former Mayor of Manitou Springs.” I can tell you firsthand that we put a lot of burdens and demands on these brick and mortar stores. “
Colorado lawmakers legalized delivery in 2019, with recreational activity sales not being allowed until 2021. The practice has already caught on in Aurora, and marijuana business groups promoting more diverse ownership in the Colorado marijuana industry criticized Snyder’s initial timing, arguing that his law would block an opportunity to own marijuana businesses in Colorado diversify, which has been criticized for being predominantly white.
Snyder admitted racial tensions played a role in his decision to ask the committee to postpone the bill, but said his aim was never to stir up such an issue.
“I have to be honest with you, given the somewhat racist atmosphere we’re all working in, that was a factor for me,” he told the committee, adding that he “totally disagrees” with that his action had discriminatory language or intent behind it.
Still, the Color of Cannabis, a group formed to give people of color possession of legal marijuana, rejected Snyder’s bill, as did the Black Brown and Red Badged Network, a coalition that represents black and brown marijuana owners .
“Small cannabis companies and entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of the emerging supply market should not be tied to the legislative, dictatorial whims of large cannabis corporate chains that already dominate the market,” said Hashim Coates, executive director of BBRB, in a statement on the bill postponement . “Delivery is a huge opportunity. Speaking up on black business concerns is not “racial segregation”; it just speaks. 100 percent of our concerns are directed at the big cannabis companies in the chain of companies that are legally blocking competition. “
The two major cities that have introduced delivery so far, Aurora and Denver, have added social justice provisions to their licensing structures for marijuana delivery, so the vast majority of permit holders must qualify under a state definition created to ensuring communities harmed by the drug war can benefit from legal marijuana.
Twelve companies in Aurora and Denver are registered with the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division for recreational delivery, while Boulder and Longmont, which allow medical supplies but not recreational deliveries, have eight registered delivery licensees. However, while Aurora’s local licensing process is ongoing, Denver’s one has yet to begin.
Snyder says he would like to see his proposed changes to the marijuana delivery program taken into account during rulemaking meetings with the MED in 2021.
Keep Westword Free … Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we want it to stay that way. We offer our readers free access to concise coverage of local news, food and culture. We produce stories about everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with bold reporting, stylish writing, and staff who have won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Feature Writing Award to the Casey- Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with the existence of local journalism under siege and the setbacks in advertising revenues having a bigger impact, it is now more important than ever for us to raise funds to fund our local journalism. You can help by joining our “I Support” membership program, which allows us to continue to cover Denver without paywalls.
Thomas Mitchell has been a cannabis-related writer for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate, and general news for publications like the Arizona Republic, Inman, and Fox Sports. He is currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.