Denver Enacts Marijuana Social Equity and Delivery Program


On April 20, 2021, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock signed two bills that will have significant and lasting impacts on the local marijuana industry. Since early 2020 the Denver city council has planned to enact legislation creating a social equity program and marijuana delivery program that coincides with state regulations. Below, we discuss some the most important changes in Denver’s most recent bills and how your business could be impacted.

  1. Store Operating Hours

The first change of note is the new Denver ordinances extend the hours of operations for medical and retail store locations. Stores can now make sales to customers until midnight instead of 10pm.

  1. Social Equity

Denver’s legislation mirrors the Marijuana Enforcement Division’s (the “MED”) social equity program’s eligibility criteria. A Denver social equity applicant must meet the same criteria set forth by the MED’s social equity rules. For more on the MED social equity eligibility criteria and rules, please see our blog post on the topic here.

However, Denver’s social equity program is far different from the MED’s program when it comes to the benefits of a social equity license. Denver’s Department of Excise and Licensing (“EXL”) will only accept new business applications for medical product manufacturing facilities, medical transporters, and retail business licenses from entities where at least 51% of the entity is owned by social equity licensees until July 1, 2027, with the exception of new business applications for co-located businesses of the same license type. EXL will no longer accept new business applications for medical cultivation facilities and medical stores from any other entity.

The bills also remove the location cap on store and cultivation licenses in Denver, so Denver has no limit to the number of new social equity. New business applicants must still comply with all other restrictions, such as zoning and distance setback requirements. Annual licensing fees have been reduced to $1,500 for social equity medical business licenses and $2,500 for social equity retail business licenses. Denver has waived social equity application fees.

  1. Marijuana Delivery

Beginning July 1, 2021, Denver marijuana stores can begin delivering orders for marijuana products to private residences. However, all stores, including social equity licensed stores, must partner with a social equity licensed transporter business until July 1, 2024, when stores can apply for their own delivery permits. Denver created additional requirements regarding the timing of deliveries, inventory tracking, delivery manifests, point of sale ID inspections, and motor vehicles making deliveries. 

If you have any questions regarding the Denver’s new social equity or delivery programs or if you want to discuss how new legislation could affect your business, please contact Dan Hamilton at 720-722-0048 or