Denver Marijuana Shops Can’t Hire Off-Duty Cops

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Denver marijuana businesses won’t be able to hire off-duty police officers to help with security.

An internal memo distributed this month by the Denver Police Department prohibits officers from providing security at any business that “constitutes a threat to the status of dignity” of the profession and from “providing security for the transportation of financial proceeds from any marijuana-related business,” according to the Denver Post.

State law already prohibits cops from owning marijuana businesses, and the Denver Police Department has a zero-tolerance policy toward marijuana use.

The memo removes a potentially useful labor force from the marijuana industry. As in other states, most Colorado’s marijuana businesses deal only in cash and must therefore invest in security guards and other safety measures. The industry has relied on private security firms as well as security cameras, barred windows and safes.

The move also removes a potential revenue stream from the local police, who regularly work part-time security jobs at other businesses. According to The Denver Post, Denver officers earned a combined $10.6 million between 2009 and 2012 working part-time security jobs at bars, sporting events and liquor stores. Local security companies pay officers $45 an hour to offer armed security presence.

Still, cops will be stationed outside recreational marijuana stores on Jan. 1, when cannabis sales to adults begin.