Rethinking Pot Marijuana Delivery: (copy)

Marijuana packaged for delivery is shown in this Associated Press file photo.

Applications are now open for marijuana delivery and transporter licenses in Denver for the first time in the city's history, the Department of Excise and Licenses announced.

The city is also accepting applications for new marijuana store locations for the first time since 2016, in addition to applications for marijuana cultivation and manufacturing licenses.

This comes two months after Denver changed its marijuana policy to allow for social equity delivery and hospitality businesses where patrons can consume marijuana on the premises. Applications for the hospitality business licenses are expected to open in November, the department said.

“This is a big part of the biggest overhaul in marijuana rules and regulations since initial legalization that the mayor signed into law on 4/20,” said Eric Escudero, spokesman for the Department of Excise and Licenses.

Under Denver’s new marijuana policy, there is no cap on the number of licenses and permits available, and there is no deadline to apply.

Delivery licenses will only be available to social equity applicants until 2024. Licenses for stores, transporters, cultivations, manufacturing and the new hospitality establishments will be limited to social equity applicants until 2027.

Social equity applicants are defined as Colorado residents who have never had a marijuana license revoked and meet one of the following social equity criteria:

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

By providing exclusivity to social equity applicants, Denver officials say they are trying to make up for the damage caused by the War on Drugs and the unequal persecution of disadvantaged communities for marijuana offenses.

“Denver saw $716 million in marijuana sales last year but only a small portion of our population has been able to benefit from the industry economically,” Escudero said when the policy passed in April. “We want more people to benefit.”

The marijuana delivery program will allow people 21 and older to receive deliveries directly to private residences within Denver and other jurisdictions that allow for marijuana delivery.

Deliveries will be available from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. and limited to the same amount of product that can be purchased in stores: 1 ounce of marijuana, 8 grams of marijuana concentrate and products with 800 milligrams of THC. 

For new marijuana businesses, current regulations require them to be at least 1,000 feet away from schools, childcare facilities, city pools, recreation centers, alcohol or drug treatment facilities and other similar license types.

New marijuana businesses are also not allowed in the top five neighborhoods with the highest number of businesses, according to the new policy. As of February, those neighborhoods were Overland, Northeast Park Hill, Baker, Five Points, Valverde and Elyria-Swansea, with the last four tied for third place.

Applications for all marijuana-related licenses, permits and license modifications are available on the department’s Medical and Retail Marijuana Licenses and Permits website.

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