Denver Closes Leisure Weed Pharmacies To Restrict COVID-19; Medical pharmacies stay open

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Update: Hours after the announcement that recreational marijuana dispensaries and liquor stores would be closed from March 24th to April 10th to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Mayor Michael Hancock has reversed the inclusion of the respective companies in the closure order.

Less than a day after Governor Jared Polis classified recreational marijuana stores as critical business (though limited to roadside pickup and delivery), the city of Denver disagreed. Mayor Michael Hancock ordered that all recreational pot stores close by 5pm by March 24th and remain closed until April 10th to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed to stay open in Denver.

The dispensing decision was announced by Marley Bordovsky of the Denver City Attorney’s Office during a meeting today at 11 p.m. on March 23, at which Hancock announced a citywide stay-at-home order in the grocery stores, pharmacies, Hardware stores, gas stations, and laundromats were listed and a small number of other businesses as essential allowing them to stay open during the lockdown. Like the pharmacies, Hancock’s liquor stores have been classified as insignificant and are due to close by April 10, according to Bordovsky. But restaurants can still offer both takeaway and delivery food and alcohol.

A day before Denver’s decision, Polis stopped short of a statewide order urging Coloradans to stay home and instead ordered companies to reduce their personal workforce by 50 percent (the rest should work from home) while the nation is fighting the spread of the coronavirus. Polis added pharmacies to its top list, but only allowed medical stores to stay open and leisure stores to offer roadside pickups.

Denver recreational pharmacies were busy doing Polis’ orders this morning. Now it looks like they will have to close completely by April 10th – and even that “can be extended if necessary,” according to a statement from the city.

With the Polis order not taking effect until March 24th, the Denver recreational pot stores may continue to operate until today, and even sell on the side of the road until March 24th at 5:00 p.m. when the Hancock order takes effect.

But after that, if you want to buy a recreational pot in Colorado, you’ll have to go outside of Denver.

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Thomas Mitchell has been writing about everything cannabis-related for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate, and general news en route to publications like the Republic of Arizona, Inman, and Fox Sports. He is currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.

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