Denver has just awarded its first “social equity” marijuana hospitality license.  Whatever one thinks about marijuana legalization or the forms it has taken, the problem here isn’t pot.  The problem is with the very idea of a “social equity license” for conducting business.  It’s the city government actively finding a way to discriminate, and it won’t stop with pot shops.

On April 19, 2021, the Denver City Council followed a number of other states and cities in adopting a so-called “social equity license” for marijuana retail outlets, cultivation locations, and hospitality locations.  The license criteria are based on a model published by the National Association of Cannabis Businesses (NACB), and adopted by the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division.

In summary, someone can apply for such a license if they resided in a Development Zone, Opportunity Zone, or Disproportionate Impacted Area for 15 out of the 31 years from 1980-2010