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Marijuana: Pretty cool, but not a big deal anymore. Not to the Denver City Council, anyway.
Proposals that would enable marijuana delivery, hospitality and licensing programs were passed with little fanfare during the April 19th council meeting with a second and final vote, and formed the basis for one of the largest revisions to local marijuana regulations since recreational sales began on January 1, 2014.
Colorado legislature passed laws in 2019 that legalize the supply of marijuana and hospitality at the state level. According to these laws, however, the municipalities have to choose their own programs. The two proposals for the new pot companies, submitted by the city’s excise and licensing ministry after nearly two years of stakeholder meetings, were sent through the council with little hindrance or comment and were unanimously adopted – along with a proposal that will introduce new licensing procedures – In a package with a handful of other bills.
“You know cannabis has arrived when marijuana bills literally go through Denver city council without comment. That would never have happened before,” said Truman Bradley, director of the Marijuana Industry Group, a trade organization that represents Colorado pot businesses.
If Mayor Michael Hancock signs the bills the day after they are approved by the council, as he usually does, the action on April 20 or April 20, the unofficial marijuana holiday that has a special connection with Denver, will receive the Seal of approval from the executive branch.
As a result of these bills, Denver will soon allow both medical and recreational deliveries within city limits, in compliance with most of the rules set by the state’s marijuana enforcement department. Delivery will stop at 10pm at the local pharmacy, orders can only be delivered to residential addresses, and those who place the order must provide their IDs to the delivery driver. Supplies are limited to 1 ounce of flower, 8 grams of concentrate, or food containing 800 milligrams of THC. According to the MED, three companies have already received their state permits for recreational delivery and one has been approved for medical delivery – though all of them require local licenses before they can operate in Denver.
The city will now accept requests for social marijuana use from more businesses and will allow indoor smoking, micro-sales, and mobile lounges, none of which were acceptable under the city’s previous hospitality program. However, the 1,000-foot buffer of the soon-to-be former hospitality program between a social utility and a daycare, drug treatment center, and urban park, pool, or recreation center remains. Only one company is currently licensed under these restrictions, with the majority of the use of social pots in private or unregulated locations.
The new rules also allow for permanent takeaway windows in pharmacies, a temporary store adjustment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A social equity package included on one of the marijuana bills now requires that all new marijuana business licenses in Denver, except for the testing lab licenses, be reserved for owners under a social equity designation through 2027 to qualify. This definition, which was passed by the legislature at the end of the 2020 session, provides that a qualified applicant must be a citizen who has been arrested or convicted of a drug offense, was civilly discarded in connection with a drug investigation or lived in a designated zone low economic opportunities or high crime; Anyone with a family member who has been exposed to drug offenses would also be eligible.
“We appreciate that the city council is demonstrating its commitment to social justice and modernizing Denver cannabis rules and regulations with the passage of this historic piece of legislation. It is gratifying to see that the public relations work our agency put in over two years to make these changes resulted in the passage of these laws, “said Ashley Kilroy, Executive Director, Excise and Licensing, in a statement for adoption of the proposals. ” Now it’s even harder. The work begins with our efforts to prepare the licenses for applicants and achieve the necessary reach to create fairer access to the nearly billion dollar cannabis industry in Denver. “
The delivery and new hospitality programs in Denver are expected to be in place by July, according to Excise and Licenses.
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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.