About Excise and Licenses

The Department of Excise and Licenses

  • Issues all business/professional licenses for the City and County of Denver. Exceptions are those about motor vehicles and building/development.
  • Determines the qualifications of applicants. Conducts background checks. Determines which licenses should be issued. Collects fees. Grants, renews, and denies applications.
  • Holds hearings about liquor, marijuana and denied applications and violations. Is the City's licensing authority for administering the Colorado liquor and beer codes.
  • Works in conjunction with the State of Colorado managing medical marijuana licenses.


The Department employs inspectors to inspect businesses. They check for compliance of the Denver Municipal Code and Colorado State Statutes. The inspectors: 

  • Are responsible for ensuring all required businesses get the proper licenses and that all licenses. They ensure all licenses are up to date.
  • Investigate complaints and respond to questions from citizens and businesses.
  • Are authorized to issue administrative citations.
  • Are authorized to issue summons and complaints into Denver County Court. These would be for violations of the Denver Revised Municipal Code.

Our laws and ordinances

The Department ensures compliance and enforcement of the Denver Revised Municipal Code and the Colorado Statutes about business and liquor licenses.  

Policies and procedures

The Department's hearing policies and procedures govern all hearings it holds. They supplement state statutes, municipal ordinances, and agency rules. They are meant to be a guide to help applicants and members of the public navigate public hearings.

More information is available on our public hearings webpage.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Former Mayor Hancock's Executive Order No. 146 directs city agencies to develop Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) teams. The Department's EDI team oversees equity initiatives and understanding in the Department. The team monitors progress on established baselines and racial equity action plan goals. Visit our equity showcase page for monthly highlights of Department equity initiatives.