Medical marijuana: Denver hits a (jack) pot with its dispensary licenses

By the end of the day Friday, February 19, just one week before the deadline for medical marijuana dispensaries to apply for their official Denver dispensary licenses, just 61 had done so. That was out of 500-plus outfits that said they were in the medical marijuana business when they'd applied for the city's standard, and required, sales-tax license.

Which meant that close to 450 dispensary owners could have rushed the Department of Excise and Licenses last week in order to get legal by the deadline, prompting me to issue a challenge to guess the ultimate number of medical marijuana dispensary applications by March 1. And the winner is...

Of the dozens of folks who offered up guesses ranging from 61 (what was he smoking?) to an ironic "high" of 419 or 420, one got it right on the money: the omniscient Jake, who last Wednesday guessed 235.

And indeed, according to the official Denver count, by the end of the day Friday, 235 dispensaries had applied for their Denver license, each paying upwards of $5,000 for the privilege -- in the process, adding well over a million bucks to the city treasury. (The department stayed open until the last person in line at 4 p.m. had been processed.)

In order to open -- legally -- for business today in Denver, a dispensary must have applied for its license. Now, anyone want to bet how long those licenses will take to arrive?

In the meantime, Jake, you can claim your prize -- a lovely cannabis lei -- at the Westword office.


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