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Aurora Eyes Marijuana Hospitality, Aims for Delivery by January

Aurora Eyes Marijuana Hospitality, Aims for Delivery by January
Brandon Marshall
Buying and trying weed in Aurora could become a lot more interesting next year, if the Aurora City Council approves a measure that would permit marijuana delivery and moves forward with considering allowing hospitality licenses.

Delivery would come first, according to the council's Amendment 64 Ad Hoc Committee, a task force of councilmembers that considers marijuana issues and possible ordinances.

The Colorado Legislature legalized both marijuana delivery and hospitality businesses two sessions ago, but local governments must opt into the new laws before such businesses are allowed. The delivery measure was restricted to medical marijuana deliveries only for 2020, and there are no medical dispensaries in Aurora — but the law allows for recreational delivery in 2021, and there are at least 23 recreational stores in the city.

Mayor Mike Coffman and the full city council have discussed marijuana delivery at past meetings, and an ordinance has already been drafted that would allow pot delivery within city limits. After the legislature passed a late bill this year defining social equity applicants for marijuana businesses, however, councilmembers decided to hold more discussions before voting on the ordinance and going forward with issuing delivery licenses.

Under the proposed ordinance, Aurora dispensaries would be the only stores allowed to deliver within city limits, and deliveries would be cut off by 10 p.m. But there could be changes to the draft as the A64 committee considers the social equity aspects.

According to Aurora Marijuana Enforcement Division Manager Robin Peterson, delivery could be approved by December and implemented in January 2021. On November 4, an A64 committee meeting will review social equity proposals, with the full council expected to hold the first delivery reading and vote during a November 16 study session; if it passes, it could go to a second vote on December 7.

Marijuana tasting rooms could also be on the horizon for Aurora — or laws allowing them when COVID-19 goes away, at least. At an October 8 A64 Committee meeting, Peterson and the AMED introduced marijuana hospitality policy recommendations, suggesting that any potential social consumption permits in Aurora be restricted to dispensaries. The AMED also recommended limiting the social use permits to dispensaries that are at least 1,000 feet from schools, as well as prohibiting outdoor smoking.

The social use recommendations were part of a presentation intended to give councilmembers an outline of what could come in the future, Peterson explains, adding that marijuana hospitality "is still under consideration. That was more to give information." But social pot consumption permits could soon become part of marijuana-focused discussions at the city level.

Since medical marijuana delivery became legal in Colorado, only three towns — Boulder, Superior and Longmont — have opted into the practice. Denver has been conducting stakeholder meetings about possibly implementing delivery by 2021.

Glendale and Adams County have been the only local governments to opt into the state marijuana hospitality law, although Colorado Springs and Denver have both allowed social use businesses to operate before.
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell