Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses announced that proof of U.S. residency is no longer a requirement for owning a cannabis business in the city, according to a Westword report. The change comes following legislative reforms that allowed immigrants to be eligible for state and local benefits, the report says.
“Our immigrant community plays a critical role in our economy,” Excise and Licenses Executive Director Molly Duplechian said in a statement. “We’re pleased to see our state lawmakers end the outdated anti-immigrant requirement that often limited an immigrant’s ability to pursue their dream of starting a business. An individual’s immigration status will no longer be a barrier to starting a business in the Mile High City.”
Although the announcement says it “opens a new era of financial opportunities for immigrants,” owning a liquor, tobacco, and cannabis business could still require “specific types” of identification, the report says.
The move comes on the heels of a new program by the Denver Department of Economic Development and Opportunity (DEDO), which is designed to help cannabis social equity licensees with things like “funding to regulations to marketing to challenges within the space,” DEDO Chief of Staff Chelsea Rosty recently told KMGH.
The cannabis technical assistance program is a 10-week curriculum covering cannabis history, politics, compliance, and best practices. To qualify, applicants must have lived in an “Opportunity Zone ” or “disproportionately affected area” for at least 15 years between 1980 and 2010, or have a family member arrested or convicted of a cannabis crime, or suffered a civil forfeiture related to a cannabis arrest. Lastly, applicants must have made less than 50% of the state’s median income the year prior to applying, the KMGH report says.
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