Denver Council Gives Final OK to Marijuana Business Limits

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Denver lawmakers approved new caps on the number of marijuana retail and cultivation sites in the city, replacing a temporary moratorium on medical and recreational businesses set to expire May 1.

The legislation, approved Monday by the Denver City Council in a 7-5 vote, will limit the growth of medical and recreational businesses.

It makes permanent the existing number of marijuana business locations – now 421 – while slightly shrinking the number of cultivation licenses over time, the Denver Post reported.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said he will sign the measure, which was finalized after weeks of debate among lawmakers.

A major bone of contention centered on existing business license applications awaiting approval, which could add up to 45 new business locations within city boundaries. In the end, lawmakers allowed those applications to proceed, even though some council members had tried to reject them.

The legislation requires new recreational grow sites to be at least 1,000 feet from schools and residential areas. An annual lottery will be held for new licenses, but only when existing licenses are revoked or surrendered.

And any future licensees must submit “good neighbor” plans intended to reduce the impact of cultivation operations on neighborhoods.