Marijuana Businesses

Marijuana businesses that need a zoning use permit (and zoning construction permit, if applicable):

  • New marijuana operations
  • Expanding marijuana operations
  • Marijuana operations with new owners or a change of name
  • Marijuana businesses applying for, or renewing, business licenses

Listed below are definitions for different types of marijuana operations. All marijuana operation permits are subject to limitations. Refer to the Denver Zoning Code (DZC) for specific use limitations and standards.

Review business licensing information for marijuana businesses

Description and limitations by business type

Retail Sales

Allows the sale of both medical and recreational marijuana.

Subject to limitations: DZC 11.4.10

Plant Husbandry

Allows the growing of marijuana.

Subject to limitations: DZC 11.6.4 &

General Wholesale Trade or Storage

Allows the storage of toxic and/or hazardous materials, including the storage of finished marijuana goods. The storage of finished marijuana goods must be tied to a licensed Denver marijuana center, store, marijuana-infused products (MIPs), or grow facility, and the stored goods must remain in their original transported containers or packages, which cannot be opened or repackaged at the storage facility.

Subject to limitations: DZC 11.5.25

Terminal, Freight, and Air Courier Services

Allows the transport, handling, and incidental short-term storage of finished marijuana goods in sealed packages or containers, which cannot be opened or repackaged at the permitted facility. Marijuana sales, cultivation, manufacturing or processing, testing or consumption cannot occur within the same facility as a permitted terminal, freight, or air courier services transporting marijuana finished goods.

Subject to limitations: DZC 11.5.17

Commercial Food Preparation and Sales

Allows the production of marijuana-infused food products and limited production of marijuana concentrate using water-based or food-based extraction only.

Subject to limitations: DZC 11.5.5

Manufacturing, Fabrication and Assembly

Allows the production of marijuana concentrate and marijuana-infused products (MIPs). These extraction activities will fall into one of three groups: water-based extraction, food-based extraction, or solvent-based extraction. Submittals in this category are either general or heavy manufacturing, based on the gross floor area devoted to extraction or based on the type of extraction process used.

Subject to limitations: DZC 11.5.9 & 11.5.10

Laboratory, Research, Development, and Technology Services

A building or group of buildings involved in development, testing, research, or experimentation related to a laboratory.

Subject to limitations: DZC 11.5.6

Special Event – Temporary

Temporary cannabis consumption at a special event (e.g. bazaar, carnival, circus, amusement entertainment).

Subject to limitations: DZC 11.11.4 & 11.11.3

Eating and Drinking Establishment

Allows consumption onsite through a hospitality license. Not allowed in residential zone districts. 

Subject to limitations: DZC 11.4.9

View business license requirements

What to submit by permit type

General Submittal Requirements

General Requirements:

  • Attach a written project narrative to your application that includes the following: 
    • Name of business
    • Scope of work
    • Hours of operation
    • Type of activities
    • How you plan to address any use limitations
      • Note: There is no required length for the narrative, but you should provide as much detail as possible
  • Site plan
  • Floor plan
  • Identify all items from the proposed scope of work in graphic form on the site plan and floor plan 
  • Identify all structures on the site plan and label with current and proposed uses
  • Dimension the distance of all structures from zone lot lines, including any building, parking lot, shed or enclosure
  • Dimension all setbacks and note all required buffers
  • Identify the number of parking stalls, including existing and provide dimensions
  • Provide total gross floor area for all zoning land uses and structures
  • Provide the number of parking stalls
  • Label all adjacent streets and alleys
  • Identify all landscape areas and provide gross area
  • Identify all storage areas and show screening as required
  • Dimension all fencing and label with height and type
  • An owner representative affidavit may be required
  • Other standards as required (e.g., rooftop units or construction)
  • Building elevations are required if exterior work is proposed to the building façade
  • For marijuana-infused products (MIPs), or extraction operations only: Fill out and upload the MIPs/extraction form(PDF, 161KB)

Floor Plan Modifications

Denver Excise and Licenses requires that applicants submit a zoning approved, stamped floor plan along with any marijuana modification of premises or request to amend floor plan application. If no changes to the physical layout of the facility or the principal room uses have/will take place, you likely do not need an updated zoning stamp on your floor plan. You may opt to provide Excise and Licenses with a copy of the last zoning approved, stamped floor plan and a separate floor plan that accurately depicts the facility and includes other items being requested such as security camera and point of sale locations or red-lines designating the licensed premises area.

The commercial zoning team reviews floor plan modifications to update previously approved plans and clarify the zoning permit record. These are only done when no significant change has occurred to the originally permitted use. This would include but is not limited to:

  • Altering the facility’s interior space with no change in permitted floor area, character or aspect of specified use
  • Adding/removing interior doors/windows

Note: Any changes to the use or square footage of your space will require new zoning and building permits. Building permits, including a fire code review, are also needed for any changes that include construction (e.g., walls; doors; windows; mechanical, electrical, or plumbing equipment or systems; security hardware and access control), changes to MIP facilities, extraction equipment, ventilation systems, and changes to the use and storage of hazardous materials. Any changes affecting the building exterior will also require a new zoning permit.

If a business makes unpermitted modifications to the premises, the modification of license inspection will not be finalized until plans have been submitted for zoning and/or building review and permits issued.

New zoning permits are required for:

  • Changing the building square footage, permitted floor area, character, or aspect of specified use
  • Any changes of use (e.g. retail sales to manufacturing, or a new use)
  • Any exterior improvements (e.g. exterior doors/windows or façade changes)

If you are applying for a floor plan modification, or if you are subject to the modification of premise requirement from Excise and Licenses, submit the following information with your application:

  • An updated, and dimensioned proposed floor plan with all spaces and rooms clearly labeled with intended use or activity
  • A copy of the most recent zoning-stamped site plan
    • If one does not exist, a new site plan must be provided
  • A copy of the most recent zoning use permit and most recent zoning-stamped floor plan

View sample plans:

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