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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Aug 29, 2013

The Denver City Council made several big decisions about the new marijuana industry cropping up in Colorado, including allowing stores to sell both medical and recreational marijuana without requiring physical barriers in the shop and setting a proposed 3.5 percent tax rate.

New licensing requirements will give neighborhoods the opportunity to legally voice concerns about public safety, health and welfare of the community at mandatory public hearings before facilities currently providing medical marijuana to begin selling retail marijuana.

Denver currently houses upwards of 200 medical marijuana centers and is the largest city in Colorado to allow retail marijuana to be sold beginning in January. The City Council has been working to create licensing and regulatory framework since Amendment 64 was passed by state voters in 2012.

If the voters approve the measure, a 3.5 percent sales tax is expected to raise $3.4 million a year to pay for regulation, enforcement, and education around the burgeoning industry. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock had originally proposed a 5 percent beginning tax rate. The rate could be raised to as high as 15 percent without a public vote.

Denver Council President Mary Beth Susman expressed that Colorado must set an example for other states to successfully integrate recreational marijuana. “The whole country is watching us,” she said. “Come Jan. 1, we are going to have people from all over the country asking us how is it going? We have thought about what it will mean for the future and to be among the first to legalize marijuana in this fashion.”

Additionally, the council on Monday set licensing requirements for the new industry that will begin in January. The requirements include these stipulations.

For the first two years, the city will only allow established medical marijuana practices to convert to retail marijuana shops with mandatory public hearings. Retail marijuana shops in Denver can operate between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. despite stay laws allowing them to be open until midnight.