City of DenverHot SheetMarijuana

Social pot in Denver: Why have so few businesses applied for licenses? (9News video)

Author: Adam McCoy - May 15, 2018 - Updated: May 15, 2018

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Why have only two Denver businesses sought licensing through the city’s Cannabis Consumption Establishments (CCE) program to become a “marijuana-friendly” shop allowing bring-your-own personal consumption?

A new city task force, which met for the first time last week, will probe that question, according to Westword.

As Denver announced its CCE application process, it became apparent the elaborate hurdles for marijuana-friendly coffee shops or spas had the potential to slow the process and/or discourage applications.

Denver’s first and only social cannabis consumption licensed shop, the Coffee Joint, opened in March in Denver’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The only other applicant, cannabis lobbyist Cindy Sovine, has also applied in hopes of opening a marijuana-infused spa.

For one, social consumption establishments in Denver won’t be allowed to set up in shops that serve alcohol, must stay twice the distance as liquor stores from places frequented by children (1,000 feet) like schools and playgrounds, and must receive the blessing to open in the area from neighborhood groups. Sovine’s business is 982 feet from a child-care facility — just feet over the limit.

And as Westword points out, shops seeking licensing must also contend with the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, which bans smoking indoors at public places. So CCE business can only allow electronic vaporization and consumption of edibles indoors; any smoking must be done outdoors.

Denver voters approved bring-your-own pot social establishments in ballot measure last year.

The Denver task force, formed through the Social Consumption Advisory Committee and comprised of city officials, members of the cannabis industry and neighborhood leaders, want to reexamine the program’s rules. The group will meet two more times over the summer then report to the Denver City Council will recommendations in November. 

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy covers Denver-area politics for Colorado Politics.