MMJ workgroup and city council committee meetings: License transfers on agenda?

Thumbnail image for TomDowney.jpeg
Tom Downey.
Update below: The so-called Denver Medical Marijuana Workgroup meets today for the second time in two months. But despite its name, which has caused some confusion in the medical marijuana community, the group hasn't been charged with any actual work and isn't a regulatory committee in any way.

Instead, the meetings -- which are brainchild of Tom Downey, director of Excise and Licensing for the City of Denver -- are more like a lightly skunk-scented town hall meeting with no real agenda to follow.

Downey took his position earlier this year amid piles of marijuana paperwork and questions from all sides. The Workgroup is his way of getting both city and state officials together with medical marijuana business owners to informally hash issues out and keep things transparent. So far, there's only been one meeting, but in Downey's opinion, it was a success.

Not everyone agreed. Twirling Hippy Confections owner Jessica LeRoux said last month that the meeting was an incestuous mix of Medical Marijuana Industry Group members, lobbyists and elected officials. "They didn't talk about anything," she told us. "The questions that were asked were softball questions, and the answers were essentially endorsing that you turn to the members of MMIG for help. I saw it as the city and state stroking MMIG members and vice-versa."

For the most part, the get-together, emceed by Matt Cook, the former head of medical marijuana for the Department of Revenue, focused on Denver's slow pace of getting applications processed, as well as the inability for MMJ business owners to transfer licenses within the city.

Currently, dispensary owners in Denver are in a catch-22. Although the state allows business licenses to be transferred, Denver city laws forbid it. The only way for a shop to transfer its license or move to a new location in the city is to apply for a new license, which state law prohibits until after July 1, 2012.

Since the September meeting, however, both problems seem to have been addressed in one way or another.

According to a press release from the aforementioned Medical Marijuana Industry Group earlier this week, the city and state will be presenting first Denver dispensary licenses at the meeting later today.

As for the licensing transfers: Denver City Council will be discussing the issue today at 1:30 p.m. in the workforce-and-sustainability committee meeting over at the City and County Building. The proposed changes would allow license transfers, thereby opening the door for owners to buy and sell existing MMCs, grows and MIPS in the City of Denver.

The Medical Marijuana Workgroup meets today at 3:30 p.m. in atrium of the Wellington Webb Building, 201 West Colfax Avenue.

Update, October 27: William Breathes's account of the Workgroup get-together can be found by clicking here: "Medical Marijuana Workgroup's dull meeting highlighted by awarding of first MMC license."

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana: Health department registry stats show 5 percent decline in red cards."

Location Info

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Wellington Webb Municipal Building

201 W. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: General

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12 comments
Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Although many of the principles were there, the public announcement of the first MIPS license in Denver was more of a whimper than a bang -- the Workgroup held its meeting in the atrium of the Wellington Webb building, but the media was not much inevidence, and the announcement and this little item was not on the printed agenda.

I asked the first question of Cook, and you can guess what it was. His response was what he always says on the subject: "If the Federal government was going to do something, they would already have done it" -- BS!   I looked like I was about to bring up Haag/Cole (I was), so Cook said that he wouldn't debate me -- he would have lost.  That Dr. J's is not a member of MMIG is irrelevant; several of those on the list (which was read aloud) of those now invited to apply for Denver's license undoubtedly are.  I hope Stan has set his affairs in order; it will be interesting to see whether or not the Feds lay low for a while, or (as I consider more likely), react to this direct challenge to the CSA.

William Breathes
William Breathes

Robert, we here at the Westword were informed of both meetings before hand, as well as the fact that they were going to announced the first Denver MMC to receive their license last night.

thanks for your comment.

jojo5000
jojo5000

In typical fashion, the wacktivists are totally uninformed. (1) of the recently announced licensees, only one is a MMIG member. (2) All of the scheduled meetings of the workgroup are publicized and "announced" to the media. That was just a stupid accusation considering that there were journalists and a television camera present and the meeting was on the ground floor lobby of the Wellington Webb building. It was hardly a secret. (3) Once again, MMIG did not draft 1284, 1043, or anything else. Multiple parties had input in the legislative process including law enforcement. Additionally, the state would have acted with or without industry participation. I guarantee that their actions would have been much worse for patients and dispensaries if business owners had not been part of the legislative process. (4) MMIG will not provide a list of its members because THEY DON'T HAVE TO. And given the ignorant, vindictive attitude coveted by some of the folks on this blog, you don't have to be a genius to understand WHY. Also, MMIG is not some small or organization dominated by large businesses. Most are small with one dispensary and one grow, There are also some 50 - odd members and anyone with a stake in the industry is free to join. It always amazes me that the individuals who are the most distant from an issue are usually the ones who claim to "unveil" all of the conspiracies. meanwhile, you just demonstrate your ignorance  and end up embarrassing yourselves.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

There was a press release; Josh showed it to me at the meeting -- I am not sure why I wrote that the press had not been informed, and I corrected that single, erroneous assertion -- I saw one cameraman.

Colorado Mmj Patient
Colorado Mmj Patient

CMMR aka MMIG has done more to hurt patients and caregivers than anyone.  HB1284 and HB1043 are here because of them and their lobbyists.  Their days are numbered.  We are gathering their member list, which they will not share, and then we will move forward with The Plan.

They are letting the "easy" MMCs through first.  I know several on the "short" list, and they tend to have few owners, grows on site, etc.

jojo5000
jojo5000

we are terribly fearful of your plan. :0 Please no.

All joking aside, what we are worried about is threats to our physical safety. One MMIG member had to move out of Denver despite the fact that neither he, nor any of MMIG's 50+ small business owners, ever did anything to hurt anybody. Yes, we realize caregivers and others are not happy with 1284 but contrary to the ridiculous assertions on this blog MMIG DIDNT WRITE LEGISLATION. Our only objective was to ensure that legitimate dispensaries and grows could get licensed with as few hurdles as possible. And, compared to what MMJ opponents were requesting, we actually succeeded. There was never any effort on our part to hurt caregivers or non - MMIG dispensaries, ex - felons, and certainly not patients . Some of the less desirable aspects of 1284 / 1043 came from the legislators themselves, law enforcement, neighborhood groups, real estate groups, etc.Anyway, I am sure I will not succeed in convincing the insane, ill - informed, wanna be "activists" of the falsity of their beliefs. But I was actually deeply involved in the process while all of you were protesting outside wearing stupid hats and yelling into bullhorns. 

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

So what is so special about this one dispensary that they get their license, and what is wrong with the other 749 dispensaries that are still circling their wagons in limbo?

According to the MMIG website they own over 23 marijuana stores (Centers), so it must of course be one of theirs getting licensed today.  http://www.mmig.org/

boogeyman
boogeyman

From the City's meeting - the first license issued is Dr. Jays - and is not a member of MMIG.  There goes your conspiracy theory.

William Breathes
William Breathes

well, someone has to be the first... right? ;)

Really though, this one was likely  'special' because it was the easiest one for them to tackle. According to Tom Downey, who has said all along that they were approaching them based on how easy the applications were to process -- going from simple centers with a grow on site to centers with multiple offsite grows, mips and other facets of business.

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