Denver Finalizes Business Rules for Safe Storage of Marijuana

Published on October 05, 2021

October 5, 2021 - DENVER – A key part of the largest ever overhaul of marijuana rules and regulations in Denver was completed today. The Denver Department of Excise and Licenses finalized rules for required safe overnight storage of marijuana and cash at marijuana stores, and retail hospitality and sales businesses, as well as requirements for drive-up and walk-up windows at marijuana stores. Businesses in the marijuana industry are required to comply with the new rules by January 1, 2022. The new rules can be found here. The safe storage rules were created to reduce crime at Denver marijuana businesses, which saw burglaries jump from 144 in 2019 to 188 in 2020, according to Denver Police data. Full crime data from the previous year can be found in Denver’s recently released annual marijuana report.

For the first time ever in Denver, dispensaries will be required to have at least one safe for marijuana products and cash that is secured to the building and located in an area with little access. Products that need to be frozen or refrigerated also must be locked up. Dispensaries that do not have room for a safe will be required to install alternative security measures such as guard posts or other physical barriers to keep cars from smashing the building, live remote monitoring of facility video surveillance with loudspeakers and alarm systems with sirens and strobe lights or an on-site security guard patrolling the business during non-business hours.

“Public safety has always been one of our top priorities in Denver’s regulated cannabis market,” said Ashley Kilroy, Executive Director of the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses. “The input we received from law enforcement, the cannabis industry, our elected representatives and the public has been crucial in crafting the first safe storage requirements for marijuana in Denver history. We hope these new rules will curtail the recent increase in dispensary burglaries and support the continued success of this industry, which has provided many positive economic impacts to our city.”

Crime prevention is a key element in Denver’s sustained efforts to prevent youth consumption because stolen marijuana often lands on the illicit market where youth can gain access. Rules for drive-up and walk-up windows at marijuana stores include a requirement that customer are provided a handheld menu and products cannot be viewed from the outside.

Denver currently has 204 operating marijuana store locations with a record $715 million in Denver marijuana sales in 2020. Denver was the first major city in America with legalized recreational sales of marijuana on January 1, 2014.