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Denver hopes to pave the way for marijuana research, open up additional licenses

Posted at 4:12 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 21:38:56-05

DENVER -- A city that paved the way for legal marijuana wants to be at the forefront of research, too. Denver is proposing some changes to marijuana policy, including a research and development license.

"It would be great if the City of Denver is leading that charge and we find some great advancements," said Eric Escudero, with Denver's Department of Excise and License.

Denver-based Medpharm is hoping to capitalize on new opportunities for research. The company employs PhD chemists and pharmacists who are focused on cannabis research and innovation. Their CEO said one of the studies they want to conduct will look at how cannabis impacts the brain of Alzheimer's patients.

"It was a little more personal for me," said Gutierrez. "We had some employees as well as myself who have had family members who have been impacted by dementia."

Gutierrez believes this new license will make Denver a hub for research and help attract new talent.

"There’s been a lot of anecdotal evidence that says, 'Hey, this helps with epilepsy,'" said Gutierrez, as he explained the endless possibilities for research. "We’re going to legitimize this industry even more to say, 'This will help with one condition or another and this is how it’s going to help,'" said Gutierrez.

The Department of Excise and License will present a series of marijuana proposals before city council on March 17; this new license will be one of them. Another proposal would open up the application process for retail and cultivation licenses for the first time since 2016. Applicants would be selected by using a lottery system. The application process will likely begin in 2021 in order to give the city time to explore new marijuana licenses like hospitality and delivery.