Denver Moves to License Transporters and Off-Premises Storage Facilities

Author: Jeffrey R. Wilson, Esq.

The Colorado Legislature authorized the Marijuana Enforcement Division to begin issuing transporter licenses in 2017. A transporter license allows a third-party entity to serve as an intermediary between grows, infused products manufacturers, and dispensaries by picking up, storing, and delivering wholesale cannabis and cannabis products. Transporters may operate in both the medical and recreational markets, though a separate license is required for each. But there was a glitch in the rollout of these new licenses. With the exception of operator licenses, all cannabis businesses in Colorado must have state and local licenses to operate. This same requirement holds true for transporters. To date, no local jurisdictions have issued transporter licenses, meaning this new license type remains functionally unavailable.

On June 5, 2017, however, Denver Excise and Licenses announced that it intends to begin licensing transporters. Applicants for transporter licenses will not be subject to public hearings or required to submit odor control plans, and transporter licenses are not subject to Denver’s caps on certain cannabis license types and locations. The only proposed location criterion for transporters is that their licensed premises be in a zone district that allows “terminal, freight, air courier services”.

Denver also intends to begin allowing existing cannabis businesses (including transporters) to apply for an off-premises storage (“OPS”) license. Like transporters, OPS will not require public hearings or odor plans, nor will they be subject to the locations cap. While an OPS is considered an extension of the licensed premises of the existing business, the only location restriction will be that the OPS is located in a zone district that allows “wholesale trade or storage, general” if the OPS is tied to a dispensary, grow, or infused-product manufacturer, or that the OPS is located in a zone district that allows“terminal, freight, air courier services” if the OPS is linked to a transporter.

The Denver City Council must approve these new license types by ordinance, though there is little reason to expect that City Council will vote against the ordinance. However, the City Council could adopt additional application requirements or operational restrictions. A draft of the proposed ordinance will be addressed at the City Council’s Special Issues: Marijuana Committee on Monday, June 12, at 3:00 p.m. Interested parties may also send comments or inquiries by email to