Patterico's Pontifications


“Denver May Be Pot Capital, U.S.A.”

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 7:40 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In 2000, Colorado legalized medical marijuana and provided for a Medical Marijuana Registry of dispensaries, but the law did not specify how dispensaries would be regulated. However, recent actions by state and local officials suggest more regulation is on the way:

  • Colorado Attorney General John Suthers issued an opinion that the state can collect sales tax on medical marijuana.
  • The Denver City Council recently gave notice that it intends to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries and restrict where they can be located.
  • These actions apparently prompted over 170 dispensaries to register for a sales-tax license in December 2009, bringing the total number of Denver-area medical marijuana dispensaries with sales-tax licenses to over 300:

    “As of last week, Denver had issued more than 300 sales-tax licenses for dispensaries. That number slightly exceeds the number of Starbucks coffee shops in Denver and surrounding areas, calculated within a 50-mile radius. It is roughly twice the number of the city’s public schools. It exceeds the number of retail liquor stores in Denver by about a third.”

    While this means Denver currently has more medical marijuana dispensaries than “liquor stores, Starbucks coffee shops or public schools,” one City Council member thinks it won’t last:

    “[Councilman Charlie] Brown said he thinks the marketplace will end up thinning out many of those rushing to get into the dispensary business anyway and will bring the number of dispensaries down to a lower level. He adds that new criminal background checks that the council probably will require also probably will shut down some operators.”

    — DRJ

    14 Responses to ““Denver May Be Pot Capital, U.S.A.””

    1. Because of the Denver city council’s incompetence in failing to address the issue of zoning when the initiative passed, the damn things are all over town. A friend of mine has one across the street from his home now.

      SPQR (26be8b)

    2. Well, all of the Libertarians must be happy – it’s out in the open and taxes are being paid.
      I wonder just how many of these dispensary’s are located within a couple thousand feet of schools – which would be a serious violation if they were selling firearms (at least here in CA)?
      And, if a seventeen year old comes in with a prescription, will they fill it – just what is the minimum age to buy pot?

      AD - RtR/OS! (06f36f)

    3. The libertarian in me would like to see marijuana at the very least decriminalized, and quite possibly legalized, but the conservative in me has always thought that medical marijuana was a Trojan Horse for de facto legalization. The alternative newspaper here in L.A. is full of ads from medical clinics that will write you a prescription for pot, with few to no questions asked. This is why I consistently vote against medical marijuana initiatives.

      It sounds like Denver has too many dispensaries to serve the “legitimate” medical pot community. As these marginal businesses have trouble attracting legitimate customers, don’t you imagine they will start being very lax about to whom they choose to sell their product?

      JVW (8704f2)

    4. Part of me says just legalize the crap so that the whole bunch is lazing away looking at clouds.

      The other part of me says they’re already doing that, and winning, so just legalize it anyway.

      At least that would make it easier to spot who to avoid.

      Ag80 (525921)

    5. Gives Denver a new meaning as “The Mile High City.”

      It will be interesting to see the DUI statistics at years end.

      Paul Albers (7adcc2)

    6. Apparently there are a lot of sick people in Denver!

      Richard (c9e28f)

    7. I agree with JVW.

      I’m curious, though, as to the source of the pot? Where do the dispensaries get it? They can’t all be growing their own, can they?

      carlitos (d32efe)

    8. Anyone noticed if Tommy Chong set up a dispensary?

      PCD (1d8b6d)

    9. Let the “Mile High” jokes commence.

      Techie (43d092)

    10. My… how times have changed…

      GeneralMalaise (68a574)

    11. Sure Denver is the pot city. Tammany Hall never died it just moved to Denver. Our Mayor Hickenlooper (a former boy bar owner) is the John Lindsey of Denver. He has never seen a homless drunk he didn’t want to enrich a political friend over. His ‘Road Home’ programs could also be called the road to the bank for the ‘nonprofit’ social agencies with connections.

      Much of the understaffed Denver PD is suspect…In the downtown precinct (Distric 6) where I lived the local PD commander doesn’t want to arrest drug dealers cause the ‘courts don’t convict’…It is New York City of the 1970’s and Serpico all over again. Some things never change.

      The Pot parlors are run by gangsters (East & West Coast)and some of the city council votes on’reigning in’ the pot boys are well…not quite Kosher…Like maybe some cash has changed hands…

      David Brown (69f4e8)

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    13. Is there anyone here who actually believes that this whole ‘legalize pot’ thing is going to end well?

      Metallica (e4735c)

    14. Is there anyone here who actually believes that this whole ‘legalize pot’ thing is going to end well?

      No, Metallica, this is not going to end well. But once they get their precious pot, they’ll blame every problem (societal, psychological and biological) on something else.

      RKae (9d1bb3)

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