Medical marijuana dispensaries will soon need papers

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The medical marijuana industry in Denver has already been compared to the wild, wild West -- but those land offices where miners and homesteaders competed to file claims may look mild compared to the Wellington E. Webb building next week, when the city starts accepting medical marijuana dispensary licenses on February 8.

Under the city ordinance approved last month, all dispensaries operating in the city must file such an application by March 1.

This is in addition to the standard city sales-tax license that dispensaries had to apply for by December 15 in order to be exempted from certain provisions in the ordinance, including a 1,000-foot buffer zone between dispensaries and schools, day-care centers and even other dispensaries.

At last count, more than 400 dispensaries had applied for their sales-tax license. Now, in order to stay in business, they'll need to apply for a dispensary-specific license, too -- and when they do, they'll need to present not just their sales tax license, but a lease or deed, a floor plan, a security plan, an area map, a zoning permit, a burglar-alarm permit and the fingerprints of the people who own 10 percent of the business for a background check -- which means those people will need to show up, too.

"To avoid processing delays and applicant disqualifications, it's extremely important that applicants for this license submit complete applications, including all required documents," says Penny May, director of Excise & Licenses, who could soon be the busiest woman in the city. That's because her office has a deadline just three weeks after that February 8 start to accepting applications.

In the meantime, the forms are available here.

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