Denver Colorado Cannabis Industry

Bills Proposed in Denver Could Allow Cannabis Delivery and Hospitality Locations

The bills would also eliminate the license cap on new stores and cultivation facilities for social equity applicants.

March 19, 2021

Denver City Council will soon vote on three bills regarding cannabis regulations in the city, as reported by 9NEWS.

The bills, which were passed by the city's Finance and Governance Committee on March 16, would allow cannabis delivery, cannabis hospitality businesses and on-site smoking.

"We are going to propose, as a city, that we safely opt-in to some of these new license types that the state has created," said Ashley Kilroy, the director of Denver's Department of Excise and Licenses. Kilroy will also pitch the latest proposal of city regulations, 9NEWS reported.

Kilroy said the city is proposing to lift the license cap on new stores and cultivation facilities, which has been in place since 2016, according to 9NEWS.

Social equity applicants are the only people who would be able to receive a delivery license until 2024, while permits for hospitality businesses, stores, transporters, cultivation and manufacturing would be limited to social equity applicants until 2027, according to 9NEWS.

The bills are an effort to make Denver's cannabis industry more diverse, equitable and inclusive, as cannabis business owners or top executives are predominantly white males, which misrepresents the community's demographics, 9NEWS reported.

To qualify as a social equity applicant, the resident must have never had his or her license revoked, and one of the following must apply:

  • Applicant lived in an opportunity zone or a disproportionately impacted area between 1980 and 2010
  • An applicant or immediate family member was convicted, arrested or suffered civil asset forfeiture due to a marijuana offense
  • Applicant's household income did not exceed 50% of the state median income

Additionally, the state created an exemption allowing people to smoke or vape cannabis indoors and at hospitality establishments, and Kilroy told 9NEWS that had been an ongoing debate with stakeholders.

Some anti-smoking organizations, like the Greater-Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution (GASP), disagree with allowing smoking and vaping indoors; they say it raises a worker's safety concern.

The bills will be introduced to the full city council, but a date has not been finalized yet.