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Medical marijuana: In Boulder, "moral turpitude" arrests = license rejections

Is Boulder less liberal than Denver when it comes to medical marijuana licensing? Although MMJ business rejection rates suggest the answer is "yes," Boulder officials haven't done an analysis. However, the City of Boulder provided us with the background check form it uses in licensing, and it's pretty tough stuff, especially in comparison with Denver -- which doesn't even have one.

According to Tom Downey, the new director of Excise and Licenses, Denver doesn't have a standalone background check form for MMJ business applicants. Instead, folks are fingerprinted, with that info, along with basic data from their application form (name, address, social security number, etc.), transmitted to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Those agencies do the actual background checks.

In contrast, Boulder has assembled its own, one-page form, which makes it clear that criminal convictions aren't necessary for license rejection. The document, on view in its entirety below, begins with five questions. The first reads like so:

Are there arrests without disposition or convictions for crimes of Moral Turpitude for any of the named persons? Yes or No.

Disposition, in this context, means the outcome of the case -- dismissal, acquittal or conviction, typically. In other words, an arrest for a crime deemed to exhibit moral turpitude -- aka "conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals" -- is verboten if it didn't lead to dismissal or acquittal. And there's no mention that said crime must be a felony, suggesting that a misdemeanor infraction in this area is off-limits, too.

Two subsequent categories do explicitly mention felonies, but two others do not. One pertains to arrests that imply a dubious pattern of behavior, while the other includes a clause about arrests indicating disputes with "law enforcement powers."

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That's pretty broad language, and it carries heavy weight. According to the form, "Yes to any of the above 5 questions indicates denial of license application."

No wonder more than a third of the MMJ license applications received in Boulder to date have received thumbs-down. Look below to see the entire document.

Boulder Medical Marijuana Background Check Review Form

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana dispensary inspections -- and what about those discontinued DVRs?"

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