A re­veal­ing map of pot fa­cil­i­ties

The Denver Post - - NEWS -

At first glance, the con­cen­tra­tion of Den­ver’s mar­i­juana fa­cil­i­ties in the city’s poorer neigh­bor­hoods is star­tling, as shown in a re­veal­ing graphic ap­pear­ing in The Sun­day Den­ver Post.

As re­porters David Migoya and Ri­cardo Baca noted, such fa­cil­i­ties have sprouted in large num­bers in neigh­bor­hoods such as “Elyria Swansea, Globeville and North­east Park Hill in north Den­ver, and Over­land to the south,” as well as along the In­ter­state 25 and Santa Fe Drive cor­ri­dors.

No won­der some com­mu­nity lead­ers and politi­cians are ex­press­ing con­cern.

Even so, a ma­jor fac­tor in this con­cen­tra­tion is that more than half of the mar­i­juana li­censes in Den­ver — 329, to be pre­cise — are for grow­ing mar­i­juana, and cul­ti­va­tion is gen­er­ally done in the in­dus­trial-type ware­houses found in th­ese dis­tricts.

There are also 85 mar­i­juana man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties in Den­ver. Not sur­pris­ingly, most of them have taken up res­i­dence in the same gen­eral ar­eas.

Ac­tual pot stores, both med­i­cal and re­tail, are more widely dis­persed — in­clud­ing in some neigh­bor­hoods that have few to none of the other fa­cil­i­ties.

It may be the city should dis­cour­age the lo­ca­tion of ad­di­tional mar­i­juana cul­ti­va­tion and man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties in ar­eas al­ready pop­u­lated with them, but it’s hardly sur­pris­ing the ex­ist­ing ones con­gre­gated where they did. It was in­evitable, and it was fore­seen. And of­fi­cials can’t re­write the rules and ap­ply them retroac­tively to ex­ist­ing busi­nesses.

Not fore­seen, by con­trast, was the way med­i­cal pot es­tab­lish­ments would con­tinue to dom­i­nate the sales land­scape two years af­ter re­tail stores opened in 2014.

There are 133 lo­ca­tions in Den­ver with both med­i­cal and re­tail li­censes, 69 med­i­cal-only stores, and a mere nine re­tail-only out­lets. Ob­vi­ously, many med­i­cal-pot buy­ers (with plenty of ex­cep­tions, we has­ten to add) are gam­ing the sys­tem in or­der to avoid the higher taxes on re­tail mar­i­juana.

Mayor Michael Han­cock’s ad­min­is­tra­tion has pro­posed freez­ing the num­ber of med­i­cal mar­i­juana out­lets in Den­ver, which is wise. But the more dif­fi­cult chal­lenge, as the Post story makes clear, is how to han­dle po­ten­tial growth in the cul­ti­va­tion and man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tors.

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