In huge rules overhaul, Denver OKs cannabis delivery, consumption lounges

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(This story has been updated to note the mayor signed the legislation.) 

Denver is making major changes to the regulations that govern one of the country’s oldest and most developed recreational cannabis markets.

As part of the new rules, Denver City Council on Monday unanimously approved marijuana delivery as well as public consumption lounges, which the city is calling “hospitality establishments,” according to Denverite.

Mayor Michael Hancock signed the new marijuana legislation Monday night.

Other changes include:

  • Ending the cap on new cultivation and retail store locations in Denver. However, no new marijuana stores will be allowed in the areas that are currently among top five most-saturated neighborhoods in Denver.
  • Social equity applicants (as defined by the state) will have exclusivity for six years to apply for new store, cultivation, manufacturing and transporter licenses. Stores are required to use a licensed transporter for delivery for the first three years of Denver’s delivery program. So the city is offering new licenses for transporters, but only those who qualify as social equity applicants can apply.
  • Transporters delivering marijuana will be required to have dash cameras, use ID scanners to check the IDs of all customers, have limits to how much product they can carry in their vehicle, and delivery can occur only at a residential addresses.
  • The new rules also increase safe storage requirements for marijuana stores, so product must be locked in a safe after the close of business hours.

There are currently 205 marijuana stores in Denver, and the city has issued 920 total marijuana licenses of many types.

“We appreciate the City Council demonstrating their commitment to social equity and modernizing Denver’s cannabis rules and regulations with their passage of this historic legislation,” Denver Department of Excise and Licenses Executive Director Ashley Kilroy said in a statement.

“Now the even harder work begins as we dedicate our efforts to getting the licenses ready for applicants and begin the outreach necessary to create more equitable access to Denver’s nearly billion dollar cannabis industry.”