Cannabis Consumption Licenses

Notice: Effective January 1, 2020, the state Marijuana Enforcement Division will require cannabis consumption establishments to submit a state Marijuana Hospitality Business License Application. However, please note: Denver has not created a local hospitality license. Therefore, Denver cannabis consumption establishments and cannabis consumption special events will continue to be governed by the city’s ordinances and Rules Governing Marijuana Designated Consumption Areas(PDF, 4MB). Even if a state Marijuana Hospitality Business Licenses is obtained, Denver businesses cannot exercise the privileges granted by the state’s marijuana hospitality business license in the absence of a corresponding local license. If you have questions about Denver’s cannabis consumption establishment and special event licenses or the state’s marijuana hospitality licenses, please contact marijuanainfo@denvergov.org.

In November 2016 Denver voters approved Initiative 300(PDF, 3MB), granting businesses the ability to apply for a license to allow for adult marijuana consumption in designated areas.

Denver Excise & Licenses has adopted final rules and regulations(PDF, 4MB) that govern the issuance and enforcement of the city’s new Cannabis Consumption Establishment and Cannabis Consumption Special Event licenses.

View letters from public health, youth-serving, and community organizations in support of the proximity restrictions for Cannabis Consumption licenses.(PDF, 641KB)

Staff can answer your questions about licensing processes, but cannot provide legal or business advice. An overview of the licensing process as well as required fees and forms can be found below.

Guide for selling or distributing CBD products at Special Events(PDF, 205KB)

How to Submit an Application

There are a variety of ways that you can submit your New or Renewal application to the Department of Excise and Licenses. If renewing, please make sure to include your Business File Number (BFN) with the submittal.

  1. In an effort to protect public safety, in-person customer service at Excise and Licenses is being offered by appointment only. Please visit our appointments website to make an appointment. 
  2. All license applications not available online can be submitted via email, EXLSubmit@denvergov.org, during this health crisis. When submitting your email application, please attach all documents pertaining to your license application to ONE email. Please visit our email application process page for more information on submitting email applications.
  3. You may also mail in your application with fees to:

City and County of Denver
Department of Excise and License
201 W Colfax Ave, Dept. 206
Denver, CO 80202

Make checks payable to: Manager of Finance

You may also pay for your applications online or via phone once you have submitted your application to Excise and Licenses. We will send you an invoice and you may pay virtually. Please visit our online payment process page for more information on how to submit payment for your applications.

For questions, please email licenses@denvergov.org or call 311.

Excise and Licenses will not offer fingerprinting services on site. The Fingerprinting and Background Check website offers information on fingerprinting services authorized by Colorado Applicant Background Services.

 

Applying For a Cannabis Consumption Establishment License

General Information

Please review this list of Frequently Asked Questions & Answers(PDF, 104KB).

A Cannabis Consumption Special Event license allows for a special event to designate part of its premises as an area where cannabis consumption is allowed. Cannabis Consumption Special Event Licenses may be granted for up to 10 days in a calendar year.

Special Event Applicants must submit a complete application at least 120 days before the first proposed event date.

It is unlawful to operate a Cannabis Consumption Special Event without a license.

Designated consumption areas within establishments are known as DCAs. Only individuals 21 and older may enter DCAs.

Patrons must bring their own cannabis product; no sales or distribution of marijuana or marijuana products may take place on the licensed premises.

Cannabis Consumption Special Event Licenses are governed by Chapter 6 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code as well as the Rules Governing Marijuana Designated Consumption Areas.

Be sure you read and understand the concepts outlined in Chapter 6 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code, the Rules and Regulations Governing Marijuana Designated Consumption Areas(PDF, 4MB), the Signage Guidelines(PDF, 191KB), and the Marijuana Facility Location Guide(PDF, 184KB) before applying.

 

Process Overview

Events wishing to obtain a new Cannabis Consumption Special Event license must follow these steps.

Be sure you read and understand the concepts outlined in Chapter 6 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code, the Rules and Regulations Governing Marijuana Designated Consumption Areas(PDF, 4MB), the Signage Guidelines(PDF, 191KB), the Health and Sanitation Plan Guidelines(PDF, 272KB), and the Marijuana Facility Location Guide(PDF, 184KB) before applying.

  1. Application Submission - Submit a completed Cannabis Consumption Application(PDF, 1MB) along with all supporting documents and fees to Denver Excise and Licenses. Applications must be submitted at least 120 days before the first proposed event.
  2. Initial Posting - Upon receipt of a complete application, the applicant will be required to post notice of the event for 30 days. It is during that time that parties of interest may request a hearing to be held. Denver Excise and Licenses will inspect the posting signage several times to ensure adequacy. 
  3. Application Review - Excise and Licenses and the Office of Special Events will review the application and all supplemental documents. It is the goal to have reviews completed within 30 days of receipt of a complete application. 
  4. Event Plan Reviews - During the application review process, and based upon the proposed event details, it will be determined which agencies will need to review and approve the event plan. For example, if the event intends to have large electric generators on-site, both the Denver Fire Department and the Electrical Division of Community Planning and Development will need to review and approve the event plan. Each applicant will receive a communication detailing the agencies that they must obtain plan review approvals from at this point in the process. All approvals must be obtained before a permit will be issued, yet the applicant may continue working through their hearing requirements detailed below while they work on their plan review requirements.
  5.  Public Hearing - If Excise and Licenses receives a request for a hearing for the proposed event, a public hearing may be scheduled and all parties of interest will be notified.
  6.  License Issuance - Once the applicant has received plan approvals from all indicated City agencies and has received an approved Final Decision from the Department a license will be granted for the special event.

 Please Note – all applications will be administratively closed if not completed within 12 months. 

 

Fees & Forms

Upon submission of an application for a new Cannabis Consumption Special Event License, applicants will be required to pay a $1,000 application fee, and a $1,000 license fee. Checks should be made payable to the "Manager of Finance." The city also accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover and cash payments.

Please note - application fees are non-refundable. If an applicant does not successfully obtain a license, they may request a refund of the license fee by emailing a completed Refund Request Form(PDF, 82KB) to exlapplications@denvergov.org.

In addition to the required fees, applicants must submit a completed New Cannabis Consumption Special Event License Application(PDF, 1MB), along with all required supporting documents. The required supporting documents are:

  • A community engagement plan that contains the following items in a clearly delineated format. Using this community engagement plan template(PDF, 90KB) is strongly recommended.
    • The name, telephone number, and email address of the person affiliated with the applicant who is responsible for neighborhood outreach and engagement.
    • The names of all Registered Neighborhood Organizations whose boundaries encompass the location of the proposed licensed premises, and a statement that the applicant shall contact the Registered Neighborhood Organizations prior to commencing operations. Note - RNO Finder Tool.
    • An outreach plan to contact and engage residents and businesses in the local neighborhoods where any license is located.
    • A detailed description of any plan to create positive impacts in the neighborhoods where the licensed premises are located, which may include by way of example, participation in community service, volunteer service, and active promotion of any local neighborhood plans.
    • Written policies and procedures to timely address any concerns or complaints expressed by residents and businesses within the neighborhood surrounding the licensed premises.
    • Written policies and procedures designed to promote and encourage full participation in the regulated marijuana industry by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement in order to positively impact those communities.
  • A copy of the Certificate of Occupancy for the establishment (if the event will occur indoors)
  • A copy of a valid Zone Use Permit for the underlying establishment
  • Advisement and Acknowledgment(PDF, 28KB) Form for each owner and manager
  • An event map drawn to scale on 8-1/2" x 11” paper showing the layout of the event and the principal uses of each section of the event area. The location of the Designated Consumption Area within the event must be contiguous and outlined in red. Please include dimensions, and event boundaries, including external and internal walls, doors, fences, gates and the like. Clearly indicate any entrances, exits, bathrooms, locations where food, drink, or ice will be stored or served, stages, structures, bleachers, tents, generators, pools or water features, locations of propane or any other liquified petroleum gases, amplified sound equipment and/or odor control technology will be located. Also, clearly indicate where the standardized placard, access restriction signage, and responsible usage signage will be located and where the event will be locating its posting notice for the public hearing. Please provide a separate page for each floor level in the establishment (if event will be held indoors).
  • A health and sanitation plan indicating how any cannabis consumption accessories that will be rented or made available for use will be cleaned (if applicable)
  • A marijuana waste plan that includes a detailed description of how employees will dispose of any waste that is left, abandoned, or otherwise not consumed on the premises
  • national criminal history records check conducted by the FBI within the last 60 days for each owner and manager
  • A responsible operations plan, along with an employee training manual, indicating, at a minimum:
    • Strategies and procedures for identifying and responding to potential over-intoxication
    • How employees will prevent underage access to the designated consumption area
    • How employees will prevent driving under the influence of marijuana
    • How employees will prevent illegal distribution of marijuana and marijuana products
    • How employees will prevent issues relating to dual consumption of marijuana and alcohol
    • How employees will prevent the usage of any liquified gas torches on the premises if dabbing will be permitted prohibition and enforcement in order to positively impact those communities.
  • An Affidavit of Lawful Presence(PDF, 199KB) for each owner
  • An Odor Control Plan (please visit Denver Environmental Quality's Odor webpage for guidelines)
  • Copies of government-issued identification for each owner and manager
  • Evidence that the establishment will comply with the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act(PDF, 488KB) (if indoor smoking will be permitted)
  • Evidence of support from an eligible neighborhood organization, including any additional restrictions on advertising and/or operational requirements that such support is dependent upon
  • Lease or Deed (if leased, include written consent from the property owner to use the property for cannabis consumption)
  • Secretary of State Certificate of Good Standing (if applicable)
  • Secretary of State Statement of Trade Name (if applicable)

 

Acceptable Facility Locations

Proposed facility locations must comply with the restrictions laid out in the Denver Revised Municipal Code and the Rules and Regulations governing Marijuana Designated Consumption Areas(PDF, 4MB).

The Marijuana Facility Location Guide(PDF, 184KB) has been put together to assist applicants in choosing an acceptable location.

A list of active Denver child care facility licenses can be found on the Denver Open Data Catalog.

A list of all licensed childcare facilities in Colorado, including preschools, can be found on the Colorado Office of Early Education website under Licensed Facility List.

A list of City-Owned Recreation Centers and Swimming Pools can be found on the Denver Open Data Catalog.

 

Plan Review Process

Denver Excise and Licenses in conjunction with the Office of Special Events will review all event plans and determine which city agencies will need to review and approve the event plan. For example, if the event intends to have large electric generators on-site, both the Denver Fire Department and the Electrical Division of Community Planning and Development will need to review and approve the event plan. Applicants should receive a communication detailing the agencies that they must obtain plan review approvals from within 30 days of application submission.

The following city agencies may be listed as reviewers of event plans:

Community Planning and Development - Architectural Review Division

Community Planning and Development - Electrical Review Division

Community Planning and Development - Mechanical Review Division

Community Planning and Development - Plumbing Review Division

Community Planning and Development - Structural Review Division

Community Planning and Development - Sewer Usage and Drainage Division

Community Planning and Development - Zoning Review Division

Denver Fire Department

Department of Public Health & Environment - Environmental Quality

Department of Public Health & Environment - Public Health Inspections

Excise and Licenses

Office of Special Events

Treasury Department

All agency approvals must be obtained before a permit will be issued, yet the applicant may continue working through their hearing requirements while they work on their plan review approvals.

 

Renew a Cannabis Consumption Establishment License 

Renewal Process Overview

Denver Marijuana Business Licenses are valid for one year. Businesses are required to renew a license within 60 days before its expiration date.

To renew a Marijuana Business License, follow these steps:

  1. Complete the Marijuana License Renewal Application(PDF, 1MB)
  2. Submit the completed application along with all supporting documents and the required annual license fee to Denver's Department of Excise and Licenses.
  3. You will be issued a new license upon receipt of a completed application and successful completion of any hearing requirements or pending amendment applications.

All applications will be administratively closed if they are not completed within 12 months.


Applying For a Cannabis Consumption Special Event License

General Information

Please review this list of Frequently Asked Questions & Answers(PDF, 104KB).

A Cannabis Consumption Special Event license allows for a special event to designate part of its premises as an area where cannabis consumption is allowed. Cannabis Consumption Special Event Licenses may be granted for up to 10 days in a calendar year.

Special Event Applicants must submit a complete application at least 120 days before the first proposed event date.

It is unlawful to operate a Cannabis Consumption Special Event without a license.

Designated consumption areas within establishments are known as DCAs. Only individuals 21 and older may enter DCAs.

Patrons must bring their own cannabis product; no sales or distribution of marijuana or marijuana products may take place on the licensed premises.

Cannabis Consumption Special Event Licenses are governed by Chapter 6 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code as well as the Rules Governing Marijuana Designated Consumption Areas.

Be sure you read and understand the concepts outlined in Chapter 6 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code, the Rules and Regulations Governing Marijuana Designated Consumption Areas(PDF, 4MB), the Signage Guidelines(PDF, 191KB), and the Marijuana Facility Location Guide(PDF, 184KB) before applying.

 

Process Overview

Events wishing to obtain a new Cannabis Consumption Special Event license must follow these steps.

Be sure you read and understand the concepts outlined in Chapter 6 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code, the Rules and Regulations Governing Marijuana Designated Consumption Areas(PDF, 4MB), the Signage Guidelines(PDF, 191KB), the Health and Sanitation Plan Guidelines(PDF, 272KB), and the Marijuana Facility Location Guide(PDF, 184KB) before applying.

  1. Application Submission - Submit a completed Cannabis Consumption Special Event Application(PDF, 1MB) along with all supporting documents and fees to Denver Excise and Licenses. Applications must be submitted at least 120 days before the first proposed event.
  2. Initial Posting - Upon receipt of a complete application, the applicant will be required to post notice of the event for 30 days. It is during that time that parties of interest may request a hearing to be held. Denver Excise and Licenses will inspect the posting signage several times to ensure adequacy. 
  3. Application Review - Excise and Licenses and the Office of Special Events will review the application and all supplemental documents. It is the goal to have reviews completed within 30 days of receipt of a complete application. 
  4. Event Plan Reviews - During the application review process, and based upon the proposed event details, it will be determined which agencies will need to review and approve the event plan. For example, if the event intends to have large electric generators on-site, both the Denver Fire Department and the Electrical Division of Community Planning and Development will need to review and approve the event plan. Each applicant will receive a communication detailing the agencies that they must obtain plan review approvals from at this point in the process. All approvals must be obtained before a permit will be issued, yet the applicant may continue working through their hearing requirements detailed below while they work on their plan review requirements.
  5.  Public Hearing - If Excise and Licenses receives a request for a hearing for the proposed event, a public hearing may be scheduled and all parties of interest will be notified.
  6.  License Issuance - Once the applicant has received plan approvals from all indicated City agencies and has received an approved Final Decision from the Department a license will be granted for the special event.

 Please Note – all applications will be administratively closed if not completed within 12 months. 

 

Fees & Forms

Upon submission of an application for a new Cannabis Consumption Special Event License, applicants will be required to pay a $1,000 application fee, and a $1,000 license fee. Checks should be made payable to the "Manager of Finance." The city also accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover and cash payments.

Please note - application fees are non-refundable. If an applicant does not successfully obtain a license, they may request a refund of the license fee by emailing a completed Refund Request Form(PDF, 82KB) to exlapplications@denvergov.org.

In addition to the required fees, applicants must submit a completed New Cannabis Consumption Special Event License Application(PDF, 1MB), along with all required supporting documents. The required supporting documents are:

  • A community engagement plan that contains the following items in a clearly delineated format. Using this community engagement plan template(PDF, 90KB) is strongly recommended.
    • The name, telephone number, and email address of the person affiliated with the applicant who is responsible for neighborhood outreach and engagement.
    • The names of all Registered Neighborhood Organizations whose boundaries encompass the location of the proposed licensed premises, and a statement that the applicant shall contact the Registered Neighborhood Organizations prior to commencing operations. Note - RNO Finder Tool.
    • An outreach plan to contact and engage residents and businesses in the local neighborhoods where any license is located.
    • A detailed description of any plan to create positive impacts in the neighborhoods where the licensed premises are located, which may include by way of example, participation in community service, volunteer service, and active promotion of any local neighborhood plans.
    • Written policies and procedures to timely address any concerns or complaints expressed by residents and businesses within the neighborhood surrounding the licensed premises.
    • Written policies and procedures designed to promote and encourage full participation in the regulated marijuana industry by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement in order to positively impact those communities.
  • A copy of the Certificate of Occupancy for the establishment (if the event will occur indoors)
  • A copy of a valid Zone Use Permit for the underlying establishment
  • Advisement and Acknowledgment(PDF, 28KB) Form for each owner and manager
  • An event map drawn to scale on 8-1/2" x 11” paper showing the layout of the event and the principal uses of each section of the event area. The location of the Designated Consumption Area within the event must be contiguous and outlined in red. Please include dimensions, and event boundaries, including external and internal walls, doors, fences, gates and the like. Clearly indicate any entrances, exits, bathrooms, locations where food, drink, or ice will be stored or served, stages, structures, bleachers, tents, generators, pools or water features, locations of propane or any other liquified petroleum gases, amplified sound equipment and/or odor control technology will be located. Also, clearly indicate where the standardized placard, access restriction signage, and responsible usage signage will be located and where the event will be locating its posting notice for the public hearing. Please provide a separate page for each floor level in the establishment (if event will be held indoors).
  • A health and sanitation plan indicating how any cannabis consumption accessories that will be rented or made available for use will be cleaned (if applicable)
  • A marijuana waste plan that includes a detailed description of how employees will dispose of any waste that is left, abandoned, or otherwise not consumed on the premises
  • national criminal history records check conducted by the FBI within the last 60 days for each owner and manager
  • A responsible operations plan, along with an employee training manual, indicating, at a minimum:
    • Strategies and procedures for identifying and responding to potential over-intoxication
    • How employees will prevent underage access to the designated consumption area
    • How employees will prevent driving under the influence of marijuana
    • How employees will prevent illegal distribution of marijuana and marijuana products
    • How employees will prevent issues relating to dual consumption of marijuana and alcohol
    • How employees will prevent the usage of any liquified gas torches on the premises if dabbing will be permitted prohibition and enforcement in order to positively impact those communities.
  • An Affidavit of Lawful Presence(PDF, 199KB) for each owner
  • An Odor Control Plan (please visit Denver Environmental Quality's Odor webpage for guidelines)
  • Copies of government-issued identification for each owner and manager
  • Evidence that the establishment will comply with the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act(PDF, 488KB) (if indoor smoking will be permitted)
  • Evidence of support from an eligible neighborhood organization, including any additional restrictions on advertising and/or operational requirements that such support is dependent upon
  • Lease or Deed (if leased, include written consent from the property owner to use the property for cannabis consumption)
  • Secretary of State Certificate of Good Standing (if applicable)
  • Secretary of State Statement of Trade Name (if applicable)

 

Acceptable Facility Locations

Proposed facility locations must comply with the restrictions laid out in the Denver Revised Municipal Code and the Rules and Regulations governing Marijuana Designated Consumption Areas(PDF, 4MB).

The Marijuana Facility Location Guide(PDF, 184KB) has been put together to assist applicants in choosing an acceptable location.

A list of active Denver child care facility licenses can be found on the Denver Open Data Catalog.

A list of all licensed childcare facilities in Colorado, including preschools, can be found on the Colorado Office of Early Education website under Licensed Facility List.

A list of City-Owned Recreation Centers and Swimming Pools can be found on the Denver Open Data Catalog.

 

Plan Review Process

Denver Excise and Licenses in conjunction with the Office of Special Events will review all event plans and determine which city agencies will need to review and approve the event plan. For example, if the event intends to have large electric generators on-site, both the Denver Fire Department and the Electrical Division of Community Planning and Development will need to review and approve the event plan. Applicants should receive a communication detailing the agencies that they must obtain plan review approvals from within 30 days of application submission.

The following city agencies may be listed as reviewers of event plans:

Community Planning and Development - Architectural Review Division

Community Planning and Development - Electrical Review Division

Community Planning and Development - Mechanical Review Division

Community Planning and Development - Plumbing Review Division

Community Planning and Development - Structural Review Division

Community Planning and Development - Sewer Usage and Drainage Division

Community Planning and Development - Zoning Review Division

Denver Fire Department

Department of Public Health & Environment - Environmental Quality

Department of Public Health & Environment - Public Health Inspections

Excise and Licenses

Office of Special Events

Treasury Department

All agency approvals must be obtained before a permit will be issued, yet the applicant may continue working through their hearing requirements while they work on their plan review approvals.