Denver City Council Extends Dispensary Hours to 10 p.m.

L'Eagle dispensary could stay open past 7 p.m.
L'Eagle dispensary could stay open past 7 p.m. Kate McKee Simmons
Starting May 1, Denver dispensaries will be allowed to stay open until 10 p.m.

Denver City Council approved the three-hour extension on Monday, April 24, after studying the issue for the past few months.

Denver implemented closing hours for medical dispensaries back in 2010 and adopted dispensary-licensing rules before there was a state law; that ordinance set closing time for all dispensaries at 7 p.m. But as dispensaries started opening in nearby towns such as Edgewater and Glendale, where stores were allowed to stay open until midnight, Denver began losing business to other areas.

City council started out discussing extending hours to midnight, but a committee decided early on that 10 p.m. would be a reasonable compromise.

One reason for the push for later hours was Denver's social-consumption initiative, passed last November. Social-consumption venues will not be allowed to sell cannabis on site; proponents hope later dispensary hours will cut down on black-market sales around those venues.

"The likelihood is that most of these facilities will be opening their doors at the time when dispensaries are closing their doors, and so that creates a supply gap," Kristi Kelly, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, said at one committee meeting.

The morning after council approved later hours, Mayor Michael Hancock announced that the city would conduct an inter-departmental review of the 420 Rally. At a press conference outlining the city's response to security concerns, trash and other problems with the rally, Hancock said he thought the approval of later hours was "a good piece of legislation," but would not comment further.

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Kate McKee Simmons interned at the National Catholic Reporter, was a reporter for the New York Post, and spent a brief stint in Israel learning international reporting before writing for Westword.