Denver City Council Blocks Newcomers to Marijuana Biz Until 2016
Only existing medical-marijuana dispensaries will be able to open recreational pot shops in Denver until 2016, under a plan that received initial approval by the Denver City Council on Monday.
The recreational stores also won't be able to open in new locations. Instead, dispensaries switching to recreational pot shops will have to stay in their existing locations and face an automatic public hearing.
Dispensaries also can become combination medical and recreational stores but will have to put a wall between the two sides of the business and have separate entrances.
The goal is to keep the city from being overrun on Oct. 1 by a flood of applications from newcomers looking to cash in on Colorado's legalization of marijuana use and regulated sales.
"We have more or less a known universe of businesses on the ground," said Assistant City Attorney David Broadwell. "These will be the ones in the game and able to convert."
The proposal is the first draft of regulations for forthcoming recreational marijuana stores in the city. It was voted on Monday by the City Council's Special Issues Committee. But, because the committee contains every member of the council, the proposal is seen as a good indication of Denver's plans for the stores.
The council must finish and adopt the final rules by the end of September.