Retail marijuana may soon make its appearance on Denver’s 16th Street Mall.
Two medical-marijuana dispensary owners have applied for licenses to open recreational stores on downtown Denver’s premier commercial corridor.
One of Denver’s 27 retail cannabis license holders — LoDo Wellness at 1617 Wazee St. — is close to the 16th Street Mall, but none so far has opened on the transit and pedestrian street.
State law allowed recreational sales to begin Jan.1. Business has been brisk at most sites, initially running at an estimated total volume of $1 million a day.
Dispensary owner Jamie Perino said she hopes to open a downtown retail store by March 1, pending approval by the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses.
The proposed Euflora store will be in the basement of a three-story office and retail building at the corner of 16th Street and Tremont Place. The facility won’t be visible from the mall but its signs will.
Perino said she has encountered no resistance to the plan. At a public hearing Tuesday, one downtown Denver resident testified in opposition to the license, saying she feared that a pot store could lead to more illegal public smoking and other crime.
Perino’s attorney, Brian Vicente, said the site is an “appropriate location for this type of business” and that “moving forward, it will be good for businesses in the area.”
Another dispensary, Native Roots Apothecary on the eighth floor of the University Building at 16th and Champa streets, also has applied for a retail marijuana license.
If approved, the two facilities will have a vast market of potential customers. An estimated 2.3 million pedestrians visit the mall each year, encompassing residents, employees, shoppers, conventioneers and tourists. About 50,000 people per weekday use the Regional Transportation District’s free MallRide.
The Downtown Denver Partnership, a business-advocacy group, has not taken a public stand on the desirability of retail marijuana shops along the mall.
Spokeswoman Brittany Morris Saunders said the organization was involved in the crafting of Denver’s marijuana regulations and is satisfied with the regulatory process.
“But I’m not going to comment on whether it’s good or bad for downtown,” she said.
Visit Denver, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, also is taking a neutral stance on retail marijuana.
“There’s just no track record on this yet,” said spokesman Rich Grant. “We are concentrating on what has been successful and has led to increased tourism.”
Steve Raabe: 303-954-1948, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/steveraabedp