Ordinance to Allow for the Licensing and Operation of Marijuana Hospitality Businesses and Retail Marijuana Hospitality and Sales Businesses

Beginning July 1, 2021, Denver may issue two general categories of hospitality businesses: (i) Marijuana Hospitality Business Licensees; and (ii) Retail Marijuana Hospitality and Sales Businesses. Each is discussed below.

  • Marijuana Hospitality Business Licenses.

This category of licenses allows for marijuana consumption only at either a fixed location or mobile premises. Both fixed location and mobile premises have similar licensing requirements such as: (1) not permitting consumption between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.; (2) not transferring marijuana with or without remuneration (payment); (3) not engaging in activities that would require an additional marijuana licenses (i.e. cultivation, manufacturing, storage, etc.); (4) not allowing consumption outside the designated consumption area; (5) allowing smoking in indoor and outdoor portions of the licensed premises , so long as occurring in compliance with an approved Odor Plan; (6) ensure that all areas of ingress and egress to the consumption areas are clearly identified with signs and warnings; (7) not allowing for on-duty employees to consume marijuana; (8) not allowing alcohol or tobacco consumption; (9) not allowing any person under the age of 21 on, or in, the licenses premises; (10) not allowing the consumption of marijuana by a patron who displays “any visible signs of intoxication”; and (11) ensuring that business activities cease in the event an emergency requires law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical service, or other public safety personnel to enter the hospitality business.

In addition to the above general licensing requirements, mobile premises shall: (1) not permit consumption if the mobile premises is stopped, standing, or parked for more than 30 minutes; (2) file a route log with the Department of Excise & Licenses identifying the origin and destination of all routes, including all stops, at least 7 business days prior to the scheduled departure; (3) not deviate from the route log without notifying the Department of Excise &Licenses at least 7 business days prior to the scheduled departure; (4) not allow origins, stops, or destinations at schools, child care establishments, alcohol or drug treatment centers, or city-owned recreation centers and pools; (5) make the route log available to any city inspector or officer upon request; and (6) ensure that the motor vehicle has no external markings, words, or symbols that constitute advertising.

Although there are additional licensing requirements for mobile consumption licenses, only fixed location hospitality license are subject to location restrictions and require a public hearing. Fixed location marijuana hospitality business licenses may not be issued if the proposed location is within 1,000 feet of any school, child care establishment, other marijuana hospitality businesses, alcohol or drug treatment facilities, and city-owned recreation centers and pools, with the distance computed by direct measurement in a straight line to the “nearest external portion of the building in which the marijuana hospitality business is proposed to be located.” Moreover, fixed location marijuana hospitality licenses shall not be issued at the licensed premises of any medical or retail marijuana business, the licensed premises of any business licensed to serve or manufacture alcohol, any location deemed public property and owned by the City, and residential-zoned districts.

  • Retail Marijuana Hospitality and Sales Businesses.

Unlike pure hospitality licenses, retail marijuana hospitality and sales businesses may only be licensed at a fixed location and are authorized to transfer limited marijuana to consumers. In addition to the general licensing requirements for fixed location marijuana hospitality licenses discussed above, retail marijuana hospitality and sales businesses have additional licensing requirements given the ability to conduct limited retail sales. Specifically, pursuant to state regulations, retail marijuana hospitality and sales businesses may not sell: (1) more than two grams of flower; (2) more than one-half of one gram of concentrate; or (3) a retail marijuana product containing more than 20 mgs of active THC, but if containing more than 10 mgs of active THC, it must be transferred to the consumer in separate serving sizes of no more than 10 mgs of active THC per serving. Moreover, starting January 1, 2022, retail marijuana hospitality and sales business will be required to install and use a safe in a limited access area to be “incorporated into the building structure or securely attached” for overnight storage.

Again similar to fixed location marijuana hospitality licenses, a public hearing is required to license retail marijuana hospitality and sales businesses and these business have nearly identical location restrictions to fixed location marijuana licenses. However, retail marijuana hospitality and sales businesses may not be issued if the proposed location is within 1,000 feet of any other “retail marijuana hospitality and sales business.” Pursuant to this language, marijuana hospitality business licenses may be located within 1,000 feet from retail marijuana hospitality and sales business.