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Could Denver nix marijuana sales?

In a prior post we reported on how some Colorado communities were ambivalent about welcoming marijuana retailers into their cities. City councils in Broomfield and Superior were considering bans on such stores, at least until the state created detailed regulations about how licenses would be granted.

In November, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, which would allow recreational use of marijuana in the state, and expand on the medicinal use currently granted by state law.

Now the City of Denver is set to weigh in on how retailers may proceed with licensure, and it is not exactly a certainty that marijuana sales will be allowed.

The city has been celebrated example for how it regulates medicinal marijuana dispensaries. With more than 200 establishments open, they have brought in more than $4 million in tax revenue for the city (based on $130 million in gross sales).

Even with such monetary success, there are several concerns with how retail establishments will be controlled. Denver's police chief was specifically concerned with them being burglarized. In the last three years, marijuana-related burglaries have increased tenfold, and many of them involved individual residences. Essentially, thieves are stealing products (i.e. marijuana) as well as high volumes of cash out of people's homes. So the problem of home based dispensaries will likely be a touchy issue.

The city is scheduled to vote in April as to whether it will pursue formal regulations or decide to opt out of the licensure process. It remains to be seen whether the city will actually decline to regulate dispensaries, but considering that two-thirds of Denver voters approved Amendment 64, it is expected that city leaders will lean towards regulation.

Source:, Denver City Council to vote in April whether to opt out on marijuana, February 12, 2013

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