Marijuana Dispensaries Will Remain Open at Level Red Restrictions

Marijuana dispensaries have been considered essential businesses in Colorado during the COVID-19 pandemic.EXPAND
Marijuana dispensaries have been considered essential businesses in Colorado during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jacqueline Collins
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Marijuana dispensaries and businesses will remain open as Denver and fourteen other counties in Colorado move to Level Red on the Department of Public Health and Environment's dial to help stop the spread of COVID-19 cases.

Under Level Red restrictions, which take effect November 20, restaurants will be closed to indoor dining, gym capacities will be further limited, and no indoor events will be allowed. But according to officials with the state Marijuana Enforcement Division, the Governor's Office and the City of Denver, operations at marijuana stores will continue under the same public-health guidelines that are currently in force.

Retail businesses, including dispensaries, are limited to 50 percent capacity during Level Red restrictions, with curbside pick-up and to-go options encouraged to limit human contact, especially for elderly and at-risk individuals.

The state has introduced a new status beyond Level Red: Level Purple, which call for curbside and to-go orders only at retail operations — but even in counties that go to Level Purple, dispensaries should be allowed to remain open for in-person sales based on previous executive orders from Governor Jared Polis.

Even so, over the last week, several dispensaries in the metro area closed for in-person sales and are now allowing only to-go and pick-up orders.

"Due to a recent spike in cases as well as new restrictions implemented by the City, The Herbal Cure will temporarily be switching to online and phone orders only. To keep our staff and valued customers healthy, please call ahead or check out our online menu to have your order safely fulfilled," reads an announcement from The Herbal Cure, a Denver dispensary.

Although dispensaries and marijuana businesses are considered critical operations by the State of Colorado, and are allowed to stay open even at Level Purple, the MED reminded pot business owners that their workplaces aren't exempt from certain requirements in a memo sent out November 17.

"Such designation does not exempt Licensees from the requirements reflected in the public health and executive orders," the MED noted. "Rather, Regulated Marijuana Businesses must still comply with the public health and executive order requirements for critical businesses. These include compliance with social distancing requirements; enforcing the requirement that employees, customers and patients wear a protective face covering unless this cannot be medically tolerated; and implementation of disease prevention measures for the workplace, employees and customers." 

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.