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Denver Marijuana Retailers Will Remain Open With “Extreme Physical Distancing”

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The spread of the coronavirus is dismantling all sectors of the global economy. With shutdowns looming all over, businesses are changing tactics trying to mitigate financial impacts. In that context, there was a surge in the number of marijuana customers who visited Denver recreational marijuana shops and liquor stores on March 23. 

The number of customers increased after Mayor Michael Hancock said that a stay-at-home order would take effect later on the evening of March 24. The order did not originally exempt the two types of businesses.

Nevertheless, shortly before 5 p.m. local time on March 23, the city published several changes to the initial order. The updates now allow liquor stores and all other marijuana stores to remain open provided that they practice extreme physical distancing. The city tweeted:

“This is an evolving situation and guidance will continue to be refined to ensure that all physical distancing measures are having the desired impact.”

All liquor stores and recreational cannabis retailers were at first not considered ‘essential’ business under the order. Medical marijuana sales were at first not included in the order that runs through April 10 and might be extended if necessary. Grocery stores would remain open with permission to sell beer and liquor under this order regardless.

However, a little while after Hancock first announced the order, lines started growing at many Denver shops with Argonaut Wine & Liquor on East Colfax Avenue, not an exception. 

The Order

Hancock insisted that the city would enforce the order that carries a civil penalty of up to $999 for anyone who violates it. He said:

“This isn’t a recommendation anymore. People need to stay at home … we will enforce when and where necessary.”

This Denver order does not apply to any other cities in the Metro area. However, Governor Jared Polis said on March 23 that he was firmly in support of the local municipalities that are taking action in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar stay-at-home orders have been issued in other places, including San Miguel, Gunnison, Eagle and Summit counties.

The city of Boulder officials also said on March 23 that they would issue a stay-at-home order for their residents. That order goes into effect on March 24 at 5 p.m. and will run up to April 10. Just like the case of Denver, the order will be extended if needed. Boulder officials stated:

“Voluntary measures are not enough, and we must enact a stay at home order for everything but essential activities if we are to flatten the curve and stop the social spread of COVID-19.”

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Jonathan Sanders

Jonathan is a business writer and a dedicated cannabis enthusiast from Chicago, IL. He is mainly focused on cannabis business news and retail news from around the world.

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