On Monday, the Denver City Council passed a bill that sets specific regulations for the medical and recreational marijuana industries in Colorado’s largest city. Denver is the first city in the state to take on making its own regulations for recreational and medical marijuana after the passage of Amendment 64. Many other cities are waiting to see how Denver’s rules work out before establishing their own.
Some of the new rules detailed by the bill include:
• Through Jan. 2016, only licensed medical marijuana businesses in good standing will be licensed to sell retail marijuana.
• Retail marijuana stores can share the same location with a medical marijuana centers.
• Public hearings will be required before licenses are granted to retail facilities. But the hearings will be less restrictive than liquor licenses.
• Similar buffering to the medical marijuana laws will be in effect with no dispensaries allowed within 1,000 feet of a school, child care center, another marijuana facility and drug and alcohol treatment facilities.
• Any medical marijuana facility that has not applied for a city license by Oct. 1 will be shut down.
• Distances now will be measured as the crow flies, not in terms of distance a pedestrian can walk after an amendment by Councilman Paul Lopez that was approved. Going forward, no new dispensary or retail shop can be within 1,000 feet of a school, child care center, drug and alcohol treatment center or another marijuana facility as the crow flies.
Denver’s ordinance balances the rights of those who want to smoke marijuana and those who are concerned about public safety, according to Michael Elliot, director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group.
“As a new industry, we recognize and accept the responsibility to ensure responsible use by adults and to keep this product away from minors,” he said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with the city to meet those shared goals.”
Council members hope to hold another meeting with Denver’s Chief of Police, as well as the manager of parks and recreation in order to work for stricter enforcement against individuals who consume marijuana in public–namely in public parks.