Denver legalizes weed delivery for social equity companies

Denver legalizes weed delivery for social equity companies

On Monday, September 19, 2022, the Denver City Council approved a measure to improve cannabis delivery services in the city and help those who have been harmed by the War on Drugs.

The city lawmakers approved a measure that will make delivery exclusivity permanent for social equity transporters, or business owners considered disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs. The move will also slash licensing fees for social equity delivery companies and the retailers they partner with.

The new ordinance is a much-needed helping hand to delivery companies that are barely hanging on. As Axios explains, Colorado’s capital city “launched its weed delivery program last year — which requires dispensaries to deliver through social equity transporters through July 2024 — nine of Denver’s 206 pot shops offer the service.”

According to Axios, social equity transporters who are licensed are struggling to keep their businesses afloat.

Last year, Denver city officials passed a measure allowing for cannabis deliveries by social equity candidates only. This was meant to be a temporary rule lasting three years but has now been made permanent after the ordinance passed on Monday.

Last year, the Executive Director of Denver's Department of Excise and Licenses, Molly Duplechian said that many people believe that a number of cannabis dispensaries plan to begin delivery services once the three-year exclusivity period for social equity applicants ends.

Duplechian said that some people in the industry may have been taking a wait-and-see approach or investing in social equity transporters with the intention of eventually beginning their own delivery services.

weed delivery might not be doing so well in Denver. According to Axios, the dispensaries are oversaturated, and many people would rather pick up their weed than pay for delivery.

Eric Escudero, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Excise and Licenses, said that cannabis delivery services have not been successful in Denver.

Escudero told local news station 9News that it is easy to see that by Denver preventing stores from doing their own delivery, and giving social equity businesses the first opportunity at this type of business, is resulting in the industry choosing profit over supporting more equitable access to the industry.

Escudero told the station that only 5% of Denver dispensaries offer delivery in comparison to the 80% of stores that can deliver their own product in Aurora.

According to the station, delivery service providers must be owned by people who resided in disadvantaged areas at some point, have annual incomes below 50% of the state’s median income, or have a personal or familial past marijuana charge or arrest. Escudero argues that “extending that requirement forever will incentivize dispensaries to make a deal” with delivery drivers.

Escudero stated that "[the bill] gives the market regulatory certainty" meaning those stores awaiting the opportunity to do their own delivery in two years no longer have a reason to wait, as 9News reported.

Without the recent city council intervention, Michael Diaz-Rivera, owner of Better Days Delivery stated that his company would not likely make it.

"Diaz-Rivera said that without dispensaries signing up for their product, it has been difficult to make progress and traffic has been low."

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