Ordinance – Omnibus Bill

As outlined on Denvergov.org, the above Omnibus bill covers 3 main topics: (i) Social Equity; (ii) Marijuana Delivery Permits; and (iii) Existing License Changes. The most immediate changes are summarized below.

  • Social Equity

The omnibus bill defines a social equity applicant as:  “a person applying for a new marijuana business license, or being transferred a marijuana business license, who is or has one or more beneficial owners who hold, or collectively hold, an ownership percentage of at least fifty-one percent, each of whom satisfy the following criteria:

  1. Is a Colorado resident;
  2. Has not been the beneficial owner of a license subject to disciplinary or legal action from the state licensing authority or the department resulting in the revocation of any marijuana business license issued by the department or the state licensing authority;
  3. Has demonstrated at least one of the following:
  4. The applicant has resided for at least fifteen (15) years between the 33 years 1980 and 2010 in a census tract designated by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade as an opportunity zone or designated by the state licensing authority as a disproportionate impacted area;
  5. The applicant or the applicant’s parent, legal guardian, sibling, spouse, child, or minor in their guardianship was arrested for a marijuana offense, convicted of a marijuana offense, or was subject to civil asset forfeiture related to a marijuana investigation; or

iii. The applicant’s household income in the year prior to application did not exceed an amount determined by the state licensing authority rule governing social equity license qualifications.”

Denver’s moratorium on licensing new medical marijuana stores and medical marijuana cultivation facilities will continue in effect upon signing of the omnibus bill. However, the bill reserves new applications for “new medical marijuana products manufacturer, medical marijuana transporter, and retail marijuana business licenses from social equity applicants” until July 1, 2027, with certain limited exceptions. Pursuant to the final language of the proposed bill, Denver may accept applications from non-social equity applicants only if an applicant is applying for a medical or retail testing facility or research and development license, or is applying for a retail marijuana business license that will be “co-located with a medical marijuana business of the same type…”

  • Marijuana Delivery Permits

Beginning July 1, 2021, local marijuana delivery permits may be issued to medical or retail marijuana stores, or medical or retail marijuana transporters to deliver marijuana to private residences of consumers and patients. Prior to July 1, 2024, however, only medical or retail transporters who qualify as social equity applicants may perform the act of delivery to consumers and patients. On and After July 1, 2024, all medical and retail marijuana transporters and medical and retail marijuana stores holding valid delivery permits may begin to directly deliver to consumers and patients. Delivery by Denver Marijuana Delivery Permit holders may not deliver between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., must use an electronic ID scanner at the point of transfer, and shall not deliver more marijuana to a person than the amounts authorized under law. Unlike the state regulations allowing enclosed delivery motor vehicles to contain up to $10,000.00 in retail value of regulated marijuana, Denver’s omnibus bill limits enclosed delivery motor vehicles to no more “than $5,000.00 in retail value of cannabis.”

  • Existing License Changes

The most pressing change to existing licenses is the immediate impact on license renewals requiring submission of a “Social Impact Plan” (“SIP”) to be made publically available. If this omnibus bill is signed into law by Denver’s Mayor on 4/20/2021 as predicted, all licensees (including medical marijuana business licensees) will be required to submit a Social Impact Plan with their next renewal application. That being said, renewal applications submitted after 4:00 p.m., April 19, 2021, will likely require submission of an SIP to be deemed complete. Incomplete applications may be rejected and require re-submission.

In addition to the above SIP requirement, beginning January 1, 2022, medical and retail stores are required to install a safe in a limited access area to be “incorporated into the building structure or securely attached” for overnight storage. For marijuana-infused products that must be kept refrigerated or frozen, the establishment may lock the refrigerated container… so long as the appliance is affixed to the building structure. Alternatively, a business may utilize security devises such as vaults, strong rooms or other security features that are functionally equivalent to a safe…”