Four large counties in the metro area have deemed marijuana dispensaries essential businesses, as seen in their public orders temporarily closing other businesses and telling residents to stay home to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Like Denver, which issued a similar public order on March 23, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder and Jefferson counties consider medical and recreational dispensaries as essential needs for their respective communities, along with grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, public infrastructure construction and several other lines of work.
But unlike Denver, the four metro counties — whose orders go into effect tomorrow, March 26 — list the end date for their orders as April 17, instead of Denver's April 10. Also in contrast to Denver, the counties' orders included dispensaries and liquor stores on the list of essential businesses from the start; Mayor Michael Hancock reversed his decision to exclude recreational cannabis and alcohol as essential needs three hours after he delivered his original March 23 order, as large lines formed outside liquor and marijuana stores 24 hours before they were set to close.
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Towns with large numbers of dispensaries and marijuana production facilities within Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder and Jefferson counties include Aurora, Boulder and Commerce City, with over seventy dispensaries among them. Golden and Lakewood, two Jeffco towns with significant populations that only allow medical dispensaries, will be able to keep their stores open. And both medical and recreational pot shops in Edgewater, Wheat Ridge, Longmont, Thornton, Englewood, Louisville, Lafayette, Northglenn and Federal Heights will be able to stay open.
Along with Adams and Arapahoe, Douglas County was included in a Tri-County Health Department order deeming dispensaries essential, but marijuana sales are banned in Douglas County towns.
Until at least April 10, all Colorado recreational marijuana sales must be conducted via curbside or drive-thru sales or online pre-ordering and pick-up, per a statewide executive order issued by Governor Jared Polis on March 20. Medical dispensaries can remain open and conduct sales within the stores, as long as social-distancing practices are enforced.