Frequently Asked Questions about Marijuana Licenses

General Questions 

What medical or retail marijuana licenses or permits does the city issue?

The city issues the following new medical or retail marijuana business licenses or permits: 

  • Medical marijuana delivery permit
  • Medical marijuana products manufacturer license
  • Medical marijuana testing facility license
  • Medical marijuana transporter license
  • Medical marijuana off-premises storage facility permit
  • Marijuana research and development license
  • Marijuana hospitality business license (including a marijuana hospitality business license with a mobile premise)
  • Retail marijuana hospitality and sales business license
  • Retail marijuana store license
  • Retail marijuana delivery permit
  • Retail marijuana cultivation facility license
  • Retail marijuana products manufacturer license
  • Retail marijuana testing facility license
  • Retail marijuana transporter license
  • Retail marijuana off-premises storage facility permit

The city is no longer issuing new business licenses for: 

  • Medical marijuana stores
  • Medical marijuana cultivation facilities

Who can apply for a new medical or retail marijuana business license or permit?

The following licenses are reserved for eligible Social Equity Applicants until July 1, 2027: 

  • Medical marijuana products manufacturer license
  • Medical marijuana transporter license
  • Marijuana hospitality business license (including a marijuana hospitality license with a mobile premises)
  • Retail marijuana hospitality and sales business license
  • Retail marijuana store license
  • Retail marijuana cultivation facility license
  • Retail marijuana products manufacturer license
  • Retail marijuana transporter license 

Someone does not have to qualify as a Social Equity Applicant to apply for the following licenses and permits: 

  • Medical marijuana testing facility license
  • Medical marijuana off-premises storage facility permit (a related license is required)
  • Marijuana research and development license
  • Retail marijuana testing facility license
  • Retail marijuana off-premises storage facility permit (a related license is required)
  • Delivery permit attached to a store license
  • Applicants may apply for a retail marijuana business license that will be commonly owned and co-located with an existing medical marijuana business of the same type. For example, an existing medical marijuana products manufacturer may apply for a retail marijuana products manufacturer’s license that will be co-located and commonly owned. 

New and existing medical or retail marijuana store licensees, and new medical or retail marijuana transporter licensees who qualify as Social Equity Applicants may apply for:

  • Medical marijuana delivery permit
  • Retail marijuana delivery permit

When can I apply for a new medical or retail marijuana business license or permit?

Applications for new medical or retail marijuana business licenses are expected to become available in June 2021. Applications for hospitality and hospitality and sales licenses are expected to become available at the end of 2021.

Where can I find laws, rules and regulations that govern marijuana licenses?

Where can I open a marijuana business?

Refer to the Marijuana Facility Location Guide(PDF, 446KB). The Marijuana Facility Location Guide provides tools for applicants to conduct initial research on locations. It also includes information about neighborhoods of undue concentration, and information on other location, proximity, and zoning requirements for different marijuana businesses

 

Social Equity

What is the eligibility criteria for a Social Equity Applicant?

The city’s eligibility criteria aligns with the Social Equity Applicant criteria established in House Bill 20-1424 and the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division’s rules. In order to qualify as a Social Equity Applicant, an individual must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • The applicant is a Colorado resident, and
  • The applicant has not been the beneficial owner of a license subject to administrative action issued by the State Licensing Authority or the Department of Excise and Licenses (local requirement) resulting in the revocation of a marijuana license, and
  • The applicant demonstrates at least one of the following:
    • The applicant has resided for at least fifteen years between 1980 and 2010 in a census tract designated by the office of economic development and international trade (OEDIT) as an opportunity zone or a census tract designated as a Disproportionate Impacted Area by the State Licensing Authority;
    • 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;
    • The applicant’s household income in the year prior to application did not exceed 50% of the state median income as measured by the number of people who reside in the applicant’s household.  

A social equity applicant, alone or together with other Social Equity Applicants, must own at least 51% of the license. More specific questions about the state’s definition of a Social Equity Applicant should be directed to the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division.

How do I qualify as a Social Equity Applicant?

The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) will determine social equity eligibility on the applicant’s finding of suitability application. To qualify as a Social Equity Applicant with the City of Denver, applicants must first obtain a social equity designation from the MED. Please visit the MED’s Social Equity website for more information on how to qualify. 

What is the State Accelerator program?

The State Accelerator Program allows individuals who may have faced barriers to entry in Colorado's retail (adult-use) regulated marijuana industry to own and operate a marijuana business license as part of an agreed-upon partnership with an existing marijuana business that has been endorsed by the MED as an “Accelerator-Endorsed Licensee." An Accelerator-Endorsed Licensee serves as the "host" in the accelerator program by providing capital and/or technical support to a Social Equity Licensee and allowing the Social Equity Licensee to operate as an Accelerator Store, Accelerator Manufacturer and Accelerator Cultivator on the same Licensed Premises or on a separate Licensed Premises provided by the Accelerator-Endorsed Licensee. Applications to participate in the accelerator program will be available beginning January 1, 2021. For all rules pertaining to the accelerator program, please see MED's Permanent Rules, and for more information on the program, please visit MED’s Social Equity website.

 

Can Social Equity Applicants sell their licenses?

Until the exclusivity period expires (July 1, 2027), licenses granted to Social Equity Applicants under the social equity program must be majority-owned by one or more Social Equity Licensees.  

A Social Equity Licensee may sell some or all of the ownership interest in their license as long as one or more Social Equity Licensees hold at least 51% of the ownership interest in the license. All licenses issued to Social Equity Applicants under the social equity program will be flagged for an additional level of review for a transfer of ownership application to ensure that the transfer of ownership will result in one or more Social Equity Applicants holding 51% or more of the ownership interest in the license.

 

Delivery

Who can apply for a marijuana delivery permit?

  • New retail and medical marijuana transporter licensees that qualify as Social Equity Licensees
  • Retail and medical marijuana store licensees

Who can conduct deliveries?

Prior to July 1, 2024, only medical or retail marijuana transporters who qualify as a Social Equity Applicant as defined in Chapter 6 Article V of the Denver Revised Municipal Code and hold a valid license and a delivery permit issued pursuant to Chapter 6 Article V of the Denver Revised Municipal Code may deliver regulated marijuana to private residences of customers and patients, subject to the provisions the Colorado Marijuana Code. 

On and after July 1, 2024, all medical and retail marijuana transporters and medical and retail marijuana stores holding a valid license and a delivery permit issued pursuant to Chapter 6 Article V of the Denver Revised Municipal Code may deliver regulated marijuana to private residences of customers and patients, subject to the provisions the Colorado Marijuana Code.

When can I apply for a marijuana delivery permit?

The Department will make applications for delivery permits available in June. The Department cannot issue permits before July 1, 2021.

Hospitality

Who can apply for a marijuana hospitality, retail marijuana hospitality and sales, or mobile hospitality license?

Marijuana hospitality business licenses (including a marijuana hospitality business license with a mobile premises) and retail marijuana hospitality and sales business licenses are reserved for Social Equity Applicants until July 1, 2027.

When can I apply for a marijuana hospitality, retail marijuana hospitality and sales, or mobile hospitality license?

Applications for marijuana hospitality business licenses (including hospitality business licenses with a mobile premises) and retail marijuana hospitality and sales business licenses are expected to become available at the end of 2021.

Are unlicensed marijuana consumption establishments allowed in Denver?

Pursuant to Chapter 6 Article V of the Denver Revised Municipal Code, Sec. 6-205: It shall be unlawful for any person, whether or not they are licensed in another jurisdiction, to engage in any form of business or commerce involving marijuana within the city without a valid local license or permit issued pursuant to this article V authorizing that business and a corresponding state license or permit issued pursuant to the Colorado Marijuana Code authorizing the same business.