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Denver Council Kills Bill Limiting the Number of Marijuana Dispensaries—For Now

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The Denver City Council on Tuesday killed a bill that would have implemented a citywide cap on marijuana dispensaries, but not necessarily because council members support an unlimited industry in the city. The gridlock and hours-long debate the Denver Post described as “a rare floor battle" revolved more around how tightly to limit the industry than whether to limit it at all. 

The failed proposal would have capped the number of cultivation and dispensary facilities in Denver and ceased new licensing for medical marijuana operations, but some council members wanted the bill to go even further, and restrict newcomers to the marijuana business as well.  Of importance to them were proposed amendments to address the May 1 expiration of a temporary moratorium on new marijuana entrepreneurs; the council had been anticipating new applicants and working to establish rules that would limit industry growth, and the exclusion of amendments that would halt these applications—and cost marijuana industry investors “millions” —reportedly led some council members to vote against the bill. 

Disagreement over the details of limitations prevailed over apparent consensus that some neighborhoods are oversaturated with marijuana businesses, ultimately resulting in a contentious 6-6 vote. 

The bill’s sponsor, Robin Kniech, has said she will amend and re-file the bill next week.

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