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Colorado cannabis sales hit new all-time high in May at more than $192 million

Published: Jul 13, 2020, 2:24 pm • Updated: Jul 13, 2020, 2:25 pm By Tiney Ricciardi Cannabis sales in Colorado set a new monthly record in May, hitting their highest level since recreational sales began in 2014. Dispensaries sold $192,175,937 worth of products in May, according to data from the Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division. That’s up about 29% from April and an increase of 32% from May 2019. Related Articles Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis says pardons for marijuana convictions can start in 90 days

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill into law Monday that allows him to mass-pardon Coloradans with minor marijuana possession convictions, although he has not said exactly how the process will work. Lawmakers passed House Bill 1424 on June 15, the last day of the 2020 legislative session. The bill aims to make the legal marijuana industry more accessible to people of color and those who were previously convicted on drug charges that wouldn’t be crimes now. It expands the social equity program for marijuana business licenses to Colorado residents who have been arrested or convicted on a marijuana offense, been subject to civil asset forfeiture from a marijuana offense, or lived in an area designated as high crime or economically disadvantaged. “For decades now, the Black community has b...

Colorado lawmakers let governor mass-pardon marijuana possession convictions

The governor would be able to mass-pardon marijuana convictions for possession of 2 ounces or less if he signs a bill that gives him that authority. It was the last amendment to the last bill considered Monday before Colorado’s General Assembly ended its work for the year. Lawmakers added the mass expungement option to House Bill 1424, which aims to open the marijuana industry to people of color and those who were previously convicted on drug charges that wouldn’t be crimes now. A spokesperson for Gov. Jared Polis didn’t directly answer whether he would sign it but sounded supportive Tuesday afternoon. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Denver’s marijuana businesses lack diversity in ownership and employment, city study finds

The majority of Denver’s cannabis-focused businesses are owned and staffed by white residents, leading to a lack of opportunities for people of color to get involved in the industry, according to a city study released Monday. According to Denver’s Cannabis Business and Employment Opportunity Study, 74.6% of owners of licensed cannabis businesses within city and county limits are white, as are 68% of employees. Hispanic, Latino and Spanish residents account for 12.7% of cannabis business owners and 12.1% of industry employees, while black and African American residents make up 5.6% of ownership and 5.9% of industry employees, the study found. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

How Denver businesses plan to deal with face mask enforcement

Published: May 6, 2020, 6:02 am • Updated: May 6, 2020, 6:05 am By Sam Tabachnik Beginning Wednesday, any customer entering a Denver business will be required to put on a mask. That part is straightforward. But what happens when people refuse to do so? It’s a question that cities and states around the country are grappling with as mandatory mask orders become more common to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. While compliance only takes a cloth mask, the mandate has generated strong backlash in parts of the country, with deadly consequences in at least one instance. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Second Colorado dispensary will soon begin offering marijuana delivery

Boulder will soon be home to two dispensaries legally delivering medical marijuana. Helping Hands Cannabis on Pearl Street recently procured its license for delivery and expects to begin service to medical patients in mid-May, according to co-owner Johnny Kurish. Kurish decided to offer delivery as a way to safely reach patients during the pandemic. Helping Hands closed voluntarily before Gov. Jared Polis issued a statewide stay-at-home order in March “because we couldn’t see a responsible way to conduct business inside of our premises and still be cognizant of public health and our staff’s health,” Kurish said. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Denver risking tax dollars by “ineffectively” auditing marijuana businesses, city auditor alleges

Denver’s process for auditing marijuana businesses is inadequate and has potentially cost the city countless tax dollars allocated for public service programs, the city auditor alleged Thursday. In a scathing new report, Denver auditor and certified public accountant Timothy M. O’Brien evaluated the city’s methods, strategies and standards for auditing marijuana dispensaries, cultivations and manufacturing facilities, deeming them “ineffective” and “inefficient.” Officials also have failed to address several unlicensed marijuana delivery services active in the city, the report said. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Denver marijuana dispensaries see increase in burglaries during coronavirus pandemic

Denver marijuana businesses have seen an increase in burglaries during the coronavirus pandemic as the cannabis industry continues to see an uptick in crime in the city, according to police. Allowed to continue operations as essential businesses, dispensaries and cultivations reported 10 burglaries in the first two weeks of April, Denver police said. That’s up from eight burglaries reported during the whole month of April 2019. Burglaries of Denver marijuana businesses hit a three-year high in 2019, with 122 reported within city limits. However, statistics are up every month of 2020 from the year prior, totaling 31 reported burglaries so far. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Colorado’s marijuana businesses should be eligible for federal coronavirus aid, Polis tells Congress

Colorado’s cannabis industry is allowed to remain open to provide “critical” services during the coronavirus pandemic, but because marijuana is a federally controlled substance, dispensaries and other businesses are ineligible to receive stimulus funds to help offset the economic impacts caused by COVID-19. Many say they’re struggling. Gov. Jared Polis, however, is hoping to lend a helping hand. On Monday, Polis sent a letter to Rep. Jason Crow, D-Aurora, a member of the House Small Business Committee, urging the committee to reconsider allowing cannabis businesses to apply for federal aid. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Colorado’s marijuana businesses can remain open during pandemic, but they say they’re still struggling

As the coronavirus fueled changes in regulation for Colorado’s cannabis industry, leaders at LivWell Enlightened Health knew they needed to make dramatic moves to keep the business and its workers thriving. And fast. On March 30, 18 company executives and department heads agreed to suspend their compensation for three months to avoid making cuts elsewhere, including personnel. The company employs 690 people between its cultivation sites, business administration and 18 dispensaries in Colorado and Oregon. Most are what Executive Director Dean Heizer calls “heartbeat” employees, namely, those on the front lines serving customers in marijuana dispensaries and working in its grow facilities sites to ensure there’s product to sell. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Colorado dispensaries say coronavirus pandemic is making case for marijuana delivery

As the coronavirus pandemic disrupts daily life and commerce in Colorado, many in the state’s marijuana industry believe it makes the case for allowing dispensaries to begin delivering to customers’ homes now. Legislators legalized cannabis delivery with the passage of House Bill 1234 in 2019. The law permits medical marijuana deliveries to start in 2020 followed by recreational cannabis deliveries in 2021, but left it to municipalities to individually decide if they will allow the services. So far just one dispensary in Colorado, The Dandelion in Boulder, has obtained a license to deliver products to patients. Shannon Gray, communications specialist for the Marijuana Enforcement Division, declined to comment on whether the timeline for recreational delivery is being reconsidered in light ...

Denver’s stay-at-home order triggered huge sales — and safety concerns — for city’s cannabis businesses

When Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced recreational marijuana shops would be forced to close under the city’s stay-at-home order Monday, the response from customers was swift. They swarmed local dispensaries to stock up on products and caused enough of a stir that the mayor rescinded the moratorium just three hours later. As more counties announce stay-at-home orders that will affect more than 2 million people in the metro area, cannabis industry personnel say it’s worth reflecting on the Denver announcement’s impact — both good and bad. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis deemed marijuana dispensaries “critical” retail businesses, meaning they’re allowed to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic with some restrictions. If a city or county individually imposes stricter rules on how they op...

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