Marijuana business cap passes Denver council

Posted at 10:59 PM, Apr 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-26 08:52:39-04

A sweeping attempt at better regulating marijuana businesses barely passed Denver City Council. Some council members argued the measure does not do enough to protect neighborhoods.

The much debated ordinance placing caps on marijuana grows and stores passed with a 7 to 5 vote. Pending license applications will still be allowed to go through.

According to the city, there are about 250 pending licenses with about 40 unique locations. Amendments made to the bill focused on neighborhoods, requiring businesses to have an outreach plan.

"As we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks the amendments have gotten more restrictive and, yes, we feel like this will be a good thing for Denver," said Ashley Rea Kilroy, Executive Director of Marijuana Policy for Denver.

The proposal, authored by Councilwoman Robin Kniech, would be limited to new businesses and includes distance requirements. Grows would not be allowed within 1,000 feet of a school or residential district.

"The distancing requirements from residential areas was in direct response to testimony about proximity of cultivation to residential areas," said Kniech.

Council members who voted no voiced their concern about letting new businesses into already saturated areas. Records from the city show at least two new grows could set up shop in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood, less than half a mile from a playground.

"We’re allowing the pending to continue to go into neighborhoods that are already saturated," said Councilwoman Debbie Ortega.

Denver's current marijuana moratorium is set to expire on Sunday.