These Denver Streets Pump the Veins of the City's Pot Industry

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Denver is home to about 200 pot shops, so there's a good chance that closing your eyes and pointing in a random direction will lead to a dispensary within a couple of miles. But three streets are particularly important to an industry that collected over $577 million in Denver alone last year.

According to data from the state Marijuana Enforcement Division, and to the shock of few, Broadway has the most dispensary licenses of any street in Denver. Colfax Avenue and Federal Boulevard aren't far behind, though. Together they account for about 25 percent of the stores in the city.

According to the MED, here are the number of dispensary licenses on certain Denver streets:

  • Broadway: 22
  • Colfax Avenue: 16
  • Federal Boulevard: 14
  • 38th Avenue: 8
  • Evans Avenue: 7
  • Alameda Avenue: 6
  • Santa Fe Drive: 5
The Colfax Pot Shop is hard to miss on East Colfax Avenue's dispensary row.
The Colfax Pot Shop is hard to miss on East Colfax Avenue's dispensary row.
Scott Lentz

Even more significant is where the dispensaries are concentrated along these streets. Of the 22 dispensaries on Broadway, eighteen are on the South Broadway corridor, while fourteen out of sixteen Colfax stores are on East Colfax. The stats for Federal Boulevard are also weighted, with nine of its fourteen pot shops sitting on its northern corridor.

South Broadway's concentration of dispensaries can be attributed to a combination of vacant real estate, willing landlords and fewer location restrictions before 2013, when the city prohibited any new dispensary from opening within 1,000 feet of another dispensary, school, daycare or drug treatment center. On East Colfax, which also has a heavy concentration of dispensaries, store owners were also able to take advantage of the old location rules.

Under the cap that Denver City Council approved for pot businesses in 2016, dispensaries can apply to move their locations, and several dispensaries that had been approved before the new rule took effect have not yet opened. In the meantime, though, Thornton, Commerce City, Federal Heights and Longmont have all cleared the path for new dispensaries, which will dilute some of Denver's domination in the metro area.

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


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