New Colorado marijuana excise taxes go into effect Jan. 1

In this Sept. 16, 2015, file photo, marijuana for sale is kept in jars for customers to sample smells at a recreational marijuana store, in Aurora. Colorado's pot tourists are in line to be able to buy as much weed as residents, according to a bill moving through the state Legislature. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)

In a final 7-3 vote Monday night, the Aurora City Council approved a marijuana delivery ordinance that will go into effect in early 2021.

Once the ordinance takes effect, Aurora residents will be allowed to have marijuana delivered to their homes by licensed dispensaries between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Daily deliveries will be limited to 1 ounce of marijuana, 8 grams of marijuana concentrate and 80 10-milligram servings of THC.

The plan limits delivery for the first three years, only granting permits to social-equity transporters who have experienced legal trouble from since-overturned marijuana laws or have lived in a disadvantaged area.

Disadvantaged areas are defined by the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade, including the East Colfax corridor west of Interstate 225 and areas south of Denver International Airport in Adams County.

Lawmakers called this limitation an attempt to level the playing field and make up for the damage caused by the war on drugs.

“What we’re doing is righting the wrong of a market that’s been exclusive and unjust,” said Councilmember Alison Coombs.

The limit also intends to diversify Colorado’s largely white-owned marijuana businesses, as people of color have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

However, Councilmember Marsha Berzins called the three-year delivery limitation “a slap in the face” to other groups of people who want to partake in marijuana delivery.

Berzins, Dave Gruber and Francoise Bergan were the only council members to vote against the ordinance.

Transporter applicants cannot have any felony convictions within three years of applying. The delivery transactions will be video recorded and GPS tracked at each step.

Mayor Pro Tem Nicole Johnston said there will be no shortage of social equity transporters as they have been lined up and begun training.

Johnston also pointed to the ideal timing of the ordinance during the COVID-19 pandemic and before major competitor Denver has allowed marijuana delivery.

“We really have an opportunity to offer this to our residents during a time when we want the contactless options for purchasing items and the additional revenue that our city will have,” Johnston said.

This was the second and final official council vote on the ordinance. The ordinance passed 8-2 on the first round of voting Dec. 7.

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