Marijuana: Unanswered questions in final Denver retail pot rules

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Among the mysteries that remain, Edson says, is when license hearings will begin, and who will go first when they do.

"If there are going to be hearings in January all the way until March or April, that's a pretty big business advantage if you can open up in January as opposed to two or three months later," he says. "Now, we know the applications are coming out next Monday -- and we know they're supposedly due on October 1. But that's about all we know right now.

"I'm hoping the city will start having these hearings quickly, rather than waiting until the new year. But my concern is that nothing has gone quickly in the medical-marijuana-licensing world. Around half of people who applied for licenses in August 2010 are still waiting for them more than three years later."

Another issue. "The licenses appear to run from January 1 to January 1. Let's say you don't get your hearing until April. Will you get credit for the four months you couldn't open?"

Such matters aren't merely academic. As Edson sees it, "these are things people would like to know before they apply for a very expensive license in twelve days. We're talking about investing tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars into your business and you've got twelve days to apply. So not knowing these things doesn't help you make appropriate, well-thought-out business plans, which you'd think the government would want given what we're talking about here."

One more vague area: State law requires businesses to cultivate at least 70 percent of their own product until October 2014, at which point they can become independent grows. But in Denver, new businesses can't come into the industry until 2016. So are new grows illegal in Denver even after October 2014? Or will they be allowed -- and if so, under what regulations? Edson doesn't know, and he doubts anyone else does, either. "It'll be interesting to see how the city deals with it," he says.

That sentiment can apply to plenty of other parts of this fledgling industry. Here's a look at the Denver Retail Marijuana Code and the aforementioned Paul Lopez amendment, including his handwritten notes.

Denver Retail Marijuana Code

Denver Retail Marijuana Rules: Lopez Amendment

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana rules in Denver: City Council's 39 key decision points."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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