COLORADO: To little fanfare, Denver on Tuesday held its first public hearing for a marijuana business seeking to open a recreational pot shop.
The 9 a.m. hearing — for a store called The Grove, at First Avenue and Federal Boulevard — lasted less than an hour, said Larry Stevenson with Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses. The store’s owner and a handful of employees spoke in favor of the store’s application. No one spoke in opposition, said Mike Elliott, the executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, who attended the hearing.
“It was short and sweet,” Elliott said.
The hearings are required for businesses seeking to open recreational marijuana stores in Denver, under rules the City Council approved earlier this year. They are being held in a former courtroom in the Denver City and County Building — a room that still has the stencil “Criminal Matters” on the door.
The hearings are intended to give residents a chance to voice concerns about the store’s possible impact on safety, public health and the neighborhood’s overall welfare. The hearings, though, are less strict than those for a liquor license — which examine whether a neighborhood needs or wants such a business.
Until 2016, only people who currently own an existing medical-marijuana store can apply to open a recreational pot shop in Denver, and the new store must stay in the same spot as the medical dispensary.
Justin Jones, one of the owners of the Dank Colorado dispensary on Elm Street in northeast Denver, was scheduled for the city’s second public hearing Tuesday afternoon. Jones said he plans to split his store into two, with one side serving medical-marijuana patients 18 and older and the other serving recreational customers 21 and up. He was one of the first to submit his application on Oct. 1, when the application window opened.