Skip navigation

Cannabis Consumption Licenses

In November 2016 Denver voters approved Initiative 300, 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 that govern the issuance and enforcement of the city’s new Cannabis Consumption Establishment and Cannabis Consumption Special Event licenses.

Applications for Cannabis Consumption Establishments are now being accepted Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Only complete applications will be accepted.

Please bring your completed application package and all required documents to Denver Excise & Licenses. 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.

The department intends to begin accepting applications for Cannabis Consumption Special Events in September 2017.

Applying For a Cannabis Consumption Establishment License

Please review this list of Frequently Asked Questions & Answers.

A Cannabis Consumption Establishment license allows for an existing business to designate part of its premises as an area where cannabis consumption is allowed. These licenses are valid for one year from the date of issuance, and then must be renewed to stay in effect.

It is unlawful to operate a Cannabis Consumption Establishment 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 Establishment Licenses are governed by Chapter 6 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code as well as the Rules Governing Marijuana Designated Consumption Areas.

Businesses wishing to obtain a new Cannabis Consumption Establishment 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, the Signage Guidelines, and the Marijuana Facility Location Guide before applying.

1.  Application Submission - Submit a completed Cannabis Consumption Establishment Application along with all supporting documents and fees to Denver Excise and Licenses.

2. Application Review - The department will review the application and all supplemental documents. It is the goal to have reviews complete within 30 days of receipt of complete application. If 30 days have passed and you would like to check on the status of your application review, please contact CAOExciseandLicense@denvergov.org

3. Public Hearing - Once the application review is completed and it is determined the application can proceed, Excise and Licenses will schedule a public hearing for your application. You will receive a scheduling order with additional instructions regarding your hearing.

4. Inspections – After the public hearing, if you receive a final decision allowing you to continue the application process, you will be issued an ‘inspection notice’ containing instructions for completing required inspections.

5. License Issuance - Return to Denver Excise and Licenses once your inspections are complete. A licensing technician will verify that each inspecting agency has electronically submitted an inspection approval for your proposed facility. A city license will then be issued for the new location. At this point (and not at any point prior) you may begin operating.

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

Upon submission of an application for a new Cannabis Consumption Establishment 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 to exlapplications@denvergov.org.

In addition to the required fees, applicants must submit a completed New Cannabis Consumption Establishment License Application, 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 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 - Here is a 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
  • A copy of a valid Zone Use Permit for the underlying establishment
  • Advisement and Acknowledgement Form for each owner and manager
  • A floor plan of the establishment drawn to scale on 8-1/2" x 11” paper, showing the layout of the establishment and the principal uses of each section of the floor area. The location of the Designated Consumption Area within the establishment must be contiguous and outlined in red. Please include dimensions, security cameras, and establishment boundaries, including external and internal walls, doors, fences, gates and the like. Also, clearly indicate where the standardized placard, access restriction signage, and responsible usage signage will be located and where the business will be locating its posting notice for the public hearing. Please provide a separate page for each floor level in the establishment.
  • 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
  • A 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 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 (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)

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.

The Marijuana Facility Location Guide 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.

After a new cannabis consumption establishment application receives a final order of approval resulting from the public hearing, an inspection card will be issued that describes how to schedule inspections for all applicable agencies. Excise and Licenses will receive electronic proof from each of the inspecting agencies as the inspections are completed and approved. All five inspecting agencies must submit proof of successful inspection completion to Excise and Licenses before any license will be issued.

We recommend that you enlist the services of a professional to develop plans for the building, public health, and fire prevention elements of your building.

The following city agencies sign off on all cannabis consumption establishment inspection notices:

Community Planning & Development: Building Inspections Division

Environmental Health: Public Health Inspections Division 

Environmental Health: Environmental Quality 

Excise and Licenses

Fire Prevention

A brief guide including multi-agency common marijuana business inspection requirements can be found here.

Cannabis Consumption Special Event Applications

Social Consumption Advisory Committee

Excise & Licenses led the rulemaking process to establish a robust regulatory structure for businesses that wish to pursue this new license. The Social Consumption Advisory Committee (SCAC) met six times in early 2017 to make recommendations to Excise & Licenses on possible rules and regulations related to the administration and regulation of Initiative 300. Members of the SCAC consisted of city, community, business and public health representatives, and other stakeholders.
Advisory Committee Meetings

Meeting 6 - April 6

Meeting 3 - Feb. 22

 

Meeting 5 - March 24

Meeting 2 - Feb. 8

 

Meeting 4 - March 10

Meeting 1 - Jan. 18

 
 
Public Feedback
  • Excise & Licenses held a public hearing on June 13, 2017 to take feedback on the proposed rules and regulations.
  • For one month prior to the hearing, the department collected written feedback on the rules.
    • Review the submitted comments HERE
 
Committee Members

Co-Chair: Ashley Kilroy (Executive Director, Denver Excise & Licenses)
Co-Chair: Molly Duplechian (Denver Office of Marijuana Policy)

Kendra Black (Denver City Council)
Mary Beth Susman (Denver City Council)
• Deputy Chief David Quinones (Denver Police Department)
• Marley Bordovsky (Denver City Attorney’s Office)
• Jude Del Hierro (Community Representative)
• Sam Kamin (University of Denver Sturm College of Law)
• Kristi Kelly (Marijuana Industry Group)
• Dan Landes (Business representative)
• Fran Lanzer (Mothers Against Drunk Driving)
• Aubrey Lavizzo (Community representative)
• Amber Leytem (Denver Public Schools)
• Amie Mayhew (Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association)
• Karin McGowin (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment)
• Maureen McNamara (Cannabis Trainers)
• Rachel O’Bryan (Protect Denver’s Atmosphere)
• Jordon Person (Denver NORML)
• Emmett Reistroffer (Denver Relief / Yes on 300)
• Sonia Riggs (Colorado Restaurant Association)
• Margie Valdez (Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation)
• Kobi Waldfogel (Event planning representative)

Contact Us

If you have comments or questions about Social Consumption, please email us at MarijuanaInfo@Denvergov.org or call Denver Excise & Licenses at 720-865-2740.