Denver, Colorado’s Division of Excise and Licenses on Monday announced three cannabis industry bills that would remove the number of dispensary caps, create a social-equity program, and allow cannabis delivery and social-use licenses, the Denver Post reports.
If removing the license caps is approved, it would be the first time new cannabusinesses are permitted in the city since 2016.
Sarah Woodson, executive director of The Color of Cannabis, said all three measures were crafted through a lens of social equity. For the first six years, they’re available, the delivery licenses and new dispensary and cultivation licenses would only be available to social equity applicants, she explained.
In Colorado, social equity applicants are defined as someone who has been arrested or convicted – or has a relative that was arrested or convicted – of a cannabis offense; someone who has experienced asset forfeiture due to a cannabis-related investigation; a person who has lived in an economic opportunity zone for at least 15 years between 1980 and 2010; or someone whose household income falls 50 percent below the state median. Social equity licensees would also receive discounts on permit fees and renewals.
Existing dispensaries that wanted to provide delivery services would have to partner with a third-party for the first three years and then could provide the service in-house. Currently, the cities of Boulder, Superior, and Longmont allow medical cannabis delivery, but not adult-use.
“Exclusivity is extremely important simply because the market’s already saturated, so it gives social equity applicants a real fighting chance to start a business and to be able to possibly scale. … This is about people getting more opportunity, specifically people who have been negatively affected by cannabis prohibition.” Woodson to the Post
The two social-use proposals include a tasting room-style that would allow sales and on-site use and another allowing only consumption, including on tour-buses.
If approved, all of the licenses would start being issued by July 1, 2021.
In 2018, Denver approved social-use licenses, but the proposed regulations would repeal that voter-approved law which never took off because the scheme was only marginally profitable. Only one Denver business – The Coffee Joint – currently holds one of those licenses.