A year-long halt to new cannabis businesses in Commerce City's southern wards will trigger a broader look at the city's licensing procedures, councilors agreed.
Councilors approved a 12-month moratorium on licenses for cannabis businesses in Ward 1 and 2 on April 17 but came back to the topic at the April 24 study session.
The moratorium was at the request of Mayor Pro-Tem Jennifer Allen-Thomas, noting that the bulk of the city's licenses for retail or medical cannabis licenses is located in those southern wards.
"Many cannabis users are people of color (but) less than two percent of cannabis retail store owners are people of color," Allen-Thomas said at the April 17 meeting. "They are continuously growing in areas that are traditionally marginalized communities. I constantly receive concerns from residents and my constituents about the increase in new cannabis and smoke shops in our community."
Councilor Kristi Douglas agreed, saying that residents in the southern wards typically don't have time to complain about the matter. Councilors would hear from residents of Ward 3 and 4 if that were the case there, she said.
"The people in Wards 3 and 4 are afforded the luxury of leisure time," Douglas said. "So, if something like this came forward in those wards, you would see those people protest, 'We don't want this in our wards.'"
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