Marijuana Laws, Rules, and Regulations

2021 Marijuana Rulemaking (MRWG)

Work Group Scope and Call for Applications(PDF, 187KB)

Public Input

Marijuana Work Plan

Cannabis Licensing Policy Sequencing

Sequence Policy Preparation Legislation Implementation Effective
1 Phase 1
  • Set location caps
  • Align location lottery with applications (hold in 2021)
  • Adopt marijuana R&D license
Complete Complete Complete Q2 2020
2 Phase 2
  • Align D.R.M.C. with state code
  • Enact marijuana equity program
  • Enact new marijuana delivery permit
  • Enact new marijuana hospitality license
In Progress Q1 2021 Q2 2021 Q3 2021

Phase 3

  • Explore new hemp licenses
2021 2022 2022 2022


Phase 2

Draft Legislation for Feedback

Phase 2 will include a package of three bills which are summarized below.  This legislation was developed using feedback from diverse and highly knowledgeable stakeholders representing the marijuana industry and public health, public safety, social justice, and youth-serving organizations. Click on the links below to read the draft legislation.







Marijuana Omnibus Bill(PDF, 399KB)



  • Social Equity
  • Existing License changes
  • Marijuana Delivery
  • Revises Denver’s Marijuana Code provisions using an Equity Lens and creates opportunities for social equity applicants
  • Aligns Denver’s Marijuana Code provisions with the Colorado Marijuana Code and state rules
  • Modifies distribution of existing store and cultivation licenses by removing the Location Cap and Location Lottery requirements
  • Creates a Denver Marijuana Delivery Program




Marijuana Hospitality Bill(PDF, 326KB)


  • Marijuana Consumption
  • Creates a Denver Marijuana Hospitality Program to allow for lawful marijuana consumption establishments




Draft Bill to Repeal Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program(PDF, 51KB)

  • Marijuana Consumption
  • Cleanup
  • Repeals citizen-initiated consumption establishment ordinance after enactment of a Denver Marijuana Hospitality Program





Please read this report(PDF, 179KB) for detail of the outreach conducted by the Office of Marijuana Policy and Department of Excise and Licenses to inform the development of this package of ordinances.

Stakeholder Sessions to take feedback and input on these draft bills have been scheduled: 

Stakeholder Feedback Session #1: Community Stakeholder Feedback Session 

Stakeholder Feedback Session #2: Marijuana Industry Stakeholder Feedback Session 

Stakeholder Feedback Session #3

  • Wednesday, January 6, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. 
  • Anyone is welcome to join this evening feedback session. Stakeholders representing public health, public safety, social justice, registered neighborhood organizations, community groups, and youth-serving organizations are encouraged to attend this session as it will address broader issues of interest to these groups. 
  • Link to Presentation(PDF, 510KB)
  • View the Meeting Video

Stakeholder Feedback Session #4

  • Friday, January 8, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. 
  • Marijuana industry members are encouraged to attend this question-and-answer session intended to address specific industry concerns and technical details of the draft ordinances.  
  • Link to Presentation(PDF, 834KB)
  • View the Meeting Video

Special Presentation to Denver Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation (INC)

  • Saturday, February 13, 2021
  • The Department was invited to present the proposed marijuana legislation at an INC Delegate Meeting.
  • Link to Presentation(PDF, 938KB) 

Stakeholder Feedback Session #5

Questions submitted by attendees during the stakeholder feedback sessions have been compiled and answered in an FAQ document, which will be updated periodically. View the FAQ document(PDF, 378KB) .

Public Comment 

Stakeholders may submit written comments to A Written Comment Template(PDF, 82KB) is available for your convenience. 

View all written comments(PDF, 6MB) submitted following the release of the first drafts of the ordinances on December 7, 2020.

Cap and Lottery

Setting the Cap

In accordance with the Denver Revised Municipal Code (D.R.M.C.) section 6-203(b)(PDF, 733KB), the Director of EXL has set the following permanent caps for marijuana sales and cultivation locations: 

  • 220 marijuana sales locations
  • 299 marijuana cultivation locations
  • 451 cumulative cap for marijuana cultivation and sales locations*

*Because some businesses combine their sales and cultivation locations, City Council also adopted a cumulative cap to account for co-located sales and cultivation facilities. 

Pursuant to D.R.M.C. §§ 6-201 and 6-203(b), these numbers are based on the total number of active licensed marijuana cultivation and sales locations as of May 1, 2016, plus the number of approved new locations from applications that were received by May 1, 2016. The Director is setting the permanent cap for sales and cultivation locations following the resolution of the last pending application.

As a reminder, the caps above do not apply to retail or medical marijuana infused product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, transporters, or cannabis consumption licenses (I-300). Similarly, the caps do not prevent holders of medical marijuana center and cultivation licenses from applying to add a retail marijuana store or cultivation license to their current existing location. The Department will continue to accept transfer of location applications for sales and cultivation facilities as long as a new location is not being created.

Lottery and Timeline

The ordinance establishing the caps on cultivation and sales locations also created an open application process for new store and cultivation locations. The open application process is to be held each calendar year after the cap is set.  On March 17, 2020, City Council approved an ordinance amending the date for the first open application process (or “lottery”) to begin in 2021.  This change was made to give Excise and Licenses time to explore new marijuana license types, including hospitality and delivery licenses. Additionally, prior to the first open application process, the City is using this time to develop a plan to promote social equity in the marijuana industry through more equitable access to licenses.

Note that the number of locations available under the cap is constantly changing as licenses expire, are surrendered, or revoked.  Therefore, the number of locations available under the cap will be determined at the time the lottery is announced.


Research and Development License

In 2017, the State of Colorado authorized local licensing authorities to issue marijuana research and development licenses (R&D). Marijuana research and development licenses permit the cultivation, possession, transfer, manufacture, and production of marijuana for limited research purposes. As a part of Denver’s 2020 Marijuana Workplan, EXL proposed an ordinance to create this new type of marijuana license. The bill (CB20-0262) passed at City Council on April 13, 2020 and the ordinance is now effective.

This new license will allow the City to preserve its reputation as a leader in the regulated cannabis industry and will foster innovation and entrepreneurship. It will also be an opportunity for the City to pilot its equity provisions and social impact plan under the forthcoming “Cannabis Equity and Social Justice” initiative. 


Stakeholder Feedback Session

EXL hosted a stakeholder feedback session on March 5, 2020 to discuss the work plan and give community members an opportunity to provide input on Phase 1 legislation.


Marijuana Equity & Social Justice

Denver is promoting inclusion for people and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs as well as communities that are now being affected by the regulated marijuana industry.


Marijuana Licensing Work Group (MLWG)

In 2020, the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses convened a diverse Marijuana Licensing Work Group (MLWG) to gather community input regarding the new marijuana licenses created by the State of Colorado in 2019, Denver’s Cannabis Equity Program, and the City’s 2020 Marijuana Workplan.

Materials from each meeting, including agendas, presentations, videos, minutes, and public comments can be accessed below. Questions about the MLWG? Contact us at