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Denver Receives First Marijuana Delivery Application

Denver is expected to be a big draw for marijuana delivery.
Denver is expected to be a big draw for marijuana delivery.
Jacqueline Collins
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Denver's new marijuana licensing system has received its first delivery application.

After Denver City Council approved an overhaul of the city's marijuana business rules in April, Denver was finally ready to accept marijuana delivery applications on June 23. A little over two weeks later, Dooba LLC owners Ari and Karina Cohen believe they're ready to hit the road.

The husband-wife duo submitted their delivery application on July 8, according to the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, with hopes of becoming a third-party delivery service for dispensaries in Denver and beyond. Ari, who was arrested for marijuana possession with intent to distribute while in his twenties, qualifies for the city's social equity provision.

"This really allows for people like myself to participate in this industry. It hung over me all these years, and has negatively impacted me during job opportunities," Ari says. "We want to show that adversity can lead to opportunity."

When Denver City Council opted into marijuana delivery earlier this year under a state law approved in 2019, it decided to require that all new marijuana business licenses (except testing laboratory licenses) issued until 2027 be reserved for applicants who qualify under a new social equity designation meant to repair harms to communities impacted by the War on Drugs. Among those who qualify are state residents who were arrested for or convicted of drug offenses, or were subject to civil asset forfeiture related to a drug investigation; anyone with a family member who was subject to drug-related offenses is also eligible.

"It would mean a lot to us to be the first in Denver. Our purpose is to end cannabis prohibition, and this is a way to pave that path forward. It would be really exciting to be first and chart the way," Karina says.

Dooba is already licensed by the state Marijuana Enforcement Division, but still must obtain local approval to operate in Denver. If its application is successful, Dooba would then need to outfit vehicles and hire drivers to comply with the state's marijuana delivery requirements, which include GPS tracking and in-car cameras.

Following a process similar to food delivery platforms, dispensary customers would request a delivery from Dooba's website or a partnering dispensary's website or menu service, such as Weedmaps or Dutchie. Ari, who's previously worked for edible manufacturer Dixie brands, says the couple is in talks with Strawberry Fields, Seed & Smith and L'Eagle dispensaries as potential partners, and hopes to work with more stores.

If all goes smoothly, they'll have drivers on the road by mid-August, Karina predicts.

Even if Dooba is first to take off, it could soon have competition. Sixteen delivery licenses have already been approved at the state level, according to the MED, and national brands with deeper pockets haven't been coy about setting their sights on Denver.

"It's going to be tough facing someone backed by a corporation and millions of dollars, and can afford to lose money their first year. We're a family-led company, but at the end of the day, I think quality and service prevail," Karina says. "We're also a local Colorado company, and I think people want to support that."

Marijuana purchases can only be delivered to residential addresses, and those placing the order will have to show their IDs to the delivery driver. Deliveries will be limited to 1 ounce of flower, 8 grams of concentrate, or edibles containing 800 milligrams of THC, and can be paid in cash or credit card, but only in-person or through third-party payment systems.

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