Marijuana industry representatives want stores to be able to stay open later in Denver, but elected officials weren’t ready Monday to change the city’s 7 p.m. closing time.
Several City Council members on Denver’s committee on marijuana said they wanted to hear from more residents before considering a proposal to push back the allowed operating hours to midnight. Mayor Michael Hancock and City Council would have to give the final OK on the proposal before recreational and medical marijuana stores can start serving evening customers.
“For me, it’s a practical matter,” said Councilwoman Kendra Black who floated the proposal. “Seven o’clock was somewhat arbitrary. It’s really about convenience for patrons who are law-abiding people of legal age. Children cannot go to a marijuana store and buy marijuana and drug dealers don’t shop at marijuana stores.”
Denver created its 7 p.m. curfew for medical and recreational pot shops in 2013 and has not talked about changing the hours since then, City Attorney David Broadwell told the committee.
Extending the curfew would put Denver more in line with some of the surrounding communities in the metro area, said Kristi Kelly, interim director of the Marijuana Industry Group.
Aurora, Boulder and Commerce City allow their marijuana stores to stay open until 10 p.m. Edgewater and Glendale’s shops can operate until midnight.
“A lot of people here at the table might be more in favor of 1o o’clock instead of midnight and that’s something we can also discuss,” Black said.
The five additional hours could mean millions more in sales for Denver pot shops and $4 million to $8 million extra dollars for the city through tax collections, according to the Marijuana Industry Group.
Councilwoman Robin Kniech said she didn’t see the added tax benefit by itself as a big enough reason to support changing hours. Kniech called for holding a public hearing and agreed to other council members’ calls for hearing from department heads before the committee makes a decision. She and others plan to take the issue up at a future committee meeting.