A new proposal to cap the amount of grow-houses, store houses, and dispensaries in Denver cleared a panel for the city to vote on it. The proposal has been billed as an ordinance designed to “protect” communities and public places. This proposal comes just a month before a city moratorium on the marijuana industry is set to expire. The ordinance is expected to be introduced to the city council for a vote this week. On that day, the lawmakers will hear an hour of public testimony to gauge the attitude of the community on this subject.
Under the ordinance, there would be a cap set on the number of marijuana licenses that the city approves. The set number of licenses could then be passed down in ownership, and the city would then hold an annual lottery for new ones. The cap would allow for up to 50 new licenses to be processed so that current investors don’t lose money, and the city will allow any license holder to get a retail license as well. Also, there would be a ban on marijuana businesses operating within 1000 feet of a school; this includes growing and store houses. In addition to that, the city would implement an odor ordinance to make sure that they control the smell of their operation effectively.
This bill, like any, has some opposition, mainly from those who have concerns about the nuances of its implementation. Mainly, there is a fear that the current bill allows license requests to be processed before the cap is put in place. However, the two poles of criticism come from different camps of thought on the matter. One group believes that this bill constrains the industry too much and that it isn’t good for businesses, and the other one believes that this bill doesn’t go far enough to protect the people of Denver. This means that there is still a lot of arguing about the bill, and that hurts its chances of being approved when it goes to a vote. However for what it’s worth, Mayor Michael Hancock has voiced his support of this proposal, “I commend Councilwoman Kniech for … proposing a pretty good bill which is pretty restrictive and really carries the values that we laid out: protect our kids, protect our quality of life and our neighborhoods, and make sure that we properly regulate and enforce this industry.”
The future of this proposal is uncertain, but it marks an important issue within the cannabis industry, and one that will surely be brought up more in the future. That issue being, where is the line? At what point are these laws actually necessary? Where is the middle ground between protecting the citizens and harassing local businesses? At the end of the day, that’s up to the local populace to decide, but as time moves ahead we’ll hear these questions be raised again. After all, this is just another step in the cannabis industry’s process of toeing the line, in this ever so new world of regulation.