DENVER (CBS4) - The City of Denver took a step toward establishing two new industries tied to cannabis in a wide-ranging adjustment of laws surrounding marijuana. Delivery service and the establishment of consumption clubs are two of the bigger shifts Denver could implement with a final vote next week.
"The most massive changes to rules and regulations for marijuana in the seven years since legalization," said Eric Escudero with the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses. "There's been people asking about delivery and places where people can consume legally outside their home for many years."
The process has taken two years to finally get to the city council. The city has placed an emphasis on diversifying the industry, allowing new licenses to only go to people who clear a "social equity" threshold as defined by the state.
"We're going to give people who traditionally didn't have an opportunity to profit from this billions-of-dollar industry and now they can have the opportunity to benefit as well. We want more equitable access, but it's not just race alone," Escudero said.
Mayor Michael Hancock could sign the legislation on April 20th, a holiday for many cannabis consumers. Among the changes in the law, operating hours will expand and a cap on the number of retail establishments will be eliminated.
Delivery will only be allowed to a private residence. Office buildings, schools, and other public property are not allowed for delivery. Drivers will be required to track GPS, be restricted on how much cash they can carry, and will scan ID Cards upon delivery. The program is expected to be up and running by the end of the summer.
Hospitality will expand with mobile and permanent establishments being licensed to allow adults to consumer. Venues will be 21 and older and able to operate from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Several protections are remaining in place like buffer zones around schools and recreation centers. Limits on advertising are also remaining in place.
"It's been a really good process to be involved with. It really, I think, is valuable to be able to represent the interest of our students and families," said Michel Holien the Denver Public Schools Prevention Services Manager.
DPS was brought into city discussions last summer. Holien led more than a dozen DPS principals in signing on to a letter urging city leaders to keep child prevention measures in place. They're concerned about the cap on retail stores going away.
"There have been great protections in place related to proximity and density already. We just want to advocate for keeping those in place," Holien said. "We just know that when the number of establishments goes up there is a direct correlation to youth use."
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