Scott Durrah, First African-American Licensed Dispensary Owner, To Run For Denver City Council.

COLORADO: Scott Durrah, owner of Simply Pure Dispensary and longtime Denver resident, has announced his candidacy for NW Denver, District 1 City Council.  With the rise of politically diverse voices emerging across the country, Durrah, a Marine veteran, long-time entrepreneur and activist who has campaigned for many officials from President Obama to Colorado’s recently-elected and newly dubbed “Pot Governor” Jared Polis, believes now is the time to join the race and represent his community.
Scott Durrah For Denver City Council“I’m running to take a principled stand for residents of this district on a wide range of issues including an emphasis on community focused development and addressing the ongoing concerns with our infrastructure at a time of hyper growth,” says Durrah.Over the last decade, Northwest Denver has seen significant changes, especially in the relationship between residents and development. The growing population and rise in rental costs and property values have pushed out many long-time locals and small business owners. Durrah, who has solid relationships with old and new community members says, “there must be a bridge that connects real solutions to our growing community issues.”

Durrah and wife Wanda James have owned and operated five businesses employing over 100 people in their 13 years as homeowners and residents of NW Denver.  The couple is known in Colorado politics as fundraisers for President Obama’s National Finance Committee and are nationally known for their work in social justice and advancing the legalization of cannabis. Scott’s television appearances include The Daily Show, CBS This Morning’s “Eat, Drink & Be Merry” and VICE as a professional chef and as an advocate for medical marijuana education.

As the first African-American in the United State to receive a legal vertical cannabis distribution, cultivation and production license, Durrah is also among a growing number of voices speaking to the political power of cannabis.  Across the country, from 2020 presidential hopefuls to local elections, candidates are throwing their support behind cannabis legalization and its potential to generate tax revenue for community reinvestment, as well as beginning to address long-standing  social justice issues.

Durrah says, “I value the people in my community and I know I can make a difference. My diverse professional background has prepared me to take on this responsibility. I am the bridge that connects residents and small businesses to local government. As the City Council member representing District 1, I will be the eyes, ears and voice for our community and speak for the responsible community-driven growth we want for all neighborhoods.”

Lawsuit Filed Over Denver’s New Plant Limit Rule

COLORADO:  Growing marijuana is not easy. Anyone who has tried it can tell you that. People that haven’t grown marijuana always throw out lines like ‘it is just a weed, just put it in dirt and it will grow.’ Will it technically grow? Sure. But will it grow well? Only if you give it quality food, quality light, quality air, a lot of love, and protect it from bugs, heat, and disease. And even then nothing is guaranteed. It takes a true green thumb to grow quality marijuana.

So if someone is a medical marijuana patient, and they don’t have the skills or resources to grow marijuana, then it makes sense for them to designate someone else to do it for them. An expert. Unfortunately that is a concept that the Denver City Council doesn’t all the way grasp, as they voted to limit the amount of plants a caretaker can grow for other patients to just 36. The plant limit is an attempt to disrupt unlicensed medical marijuana gardens within city limits. The new rule has resulted in a lawsuit being filed. Per The Cannabist:

A lawsuit filed Wednesday takes aim at a fresh Denver ordinance that could shut down dozens of unlicensed nonresidential marijuana-growing collectives by limiting them to growing 36 plants.

The Denver City Council passed the measure 11-0 Monday night. It was proposed by Mayor Michael Hancock’s marijuana office, which says it’s attempting to address unsafe conditions in the unlicensed growing facilities and an “exponential increase” in the cultivation of untracked marijuana.


Denver sets marijuana sales tax

COLORADO: Denver City Council on Monday made several big decisions about the nascent marijuana industry, including allowing stores to sell both medical and nonmedical pot without requiring physical barriers in the shops and setting a proposed 3.5 percent tax rate.

Also, new licensing requirements will give neighbors a chance to raise concerns about public safety, health and welfare of the neighborhood at mandatory public hearings before medical marijuana centers can convert to selling retail marijuana.

“We’ve done a good job here,” Councilman Chris Nevitt said after an afternoon committee meeting.

Denver, which has about 200 medical marijuana centers, is the largest city in Colorado to opt-in on allowing retail marijuana to be sold beginning in January. The City Council has been working on establishing a licensing and regulatory framework since Amendment 64 was passed by state voters last year.

The 3.5 percent sales tax, if approved by voters in November, is expected to raise $3.4 million a year to pay for regulation, enforcement and education around the new industry. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock had wanted a 5 percent beginning tax rate. The tax would be able to be raised as high as 15 percent without a public vote.

“This will create the opportunity to deal with some of those social costs that will come as a result of an expanded presence of marijuana in Denver,” said Councilwoman Debbie Ortega.

“The whole country is watching us,” said Council President Mary Beth Susman. “Come Jan. 1, we are going to have people from all over the country asking us how is it going? We have thought about what it will mean for the future and to be among the first to legalize marijuana in this fashion.”


5 Percent Recreational Marijuana Tax Approved By Denver City Council

COLORADO: Denver City Council approved a municipal tax rate of 5 percent on recreational marijuana sales in Mile High City on Monday afternoon — if approved by voters, the city tax would likely be in addition to the 25 percent combined state tax rate, which also must be approved by voters this November. [Read more…]