LED lights cast a vibrant hue on marijuana plants in the flower rooms at 3D Denver Discreet Dispensary on Wednesday.

Denver pot committee considers whether the city is ready for Jan. 1

Denver Councilman Charlie Brown said Monday he has significant concerns about the debut of recreational cannabis sales Jan. 1.

Brown, who has led a council committee on potential pot regulations for more than a year, showed his exasperation at a meeting with Police Chief Robert White, the city’s marketer, a marijuana industry leader and the interim director of excise and licensing.

“Are we ready?” Brown asked.

The city says it expects fewer than 12 stores to open in Denver on Jan. 1, when marijuana legally can be sold to adults in Colorado. More than 110 stores have applied, but they are still going through the licensing process.

“We could have thousands of people lined up. They will camp out. They will have cash in their pockets,” Brown said. “I hope we have weather like we have today.”

Brown worried that the limited number of shops allowed to open will create problems that will be on display for the world’s media, expected to converge on the Mile High City. He also fears that those stores will be concentrated in only a few neighborhoods.

White told Brown that the city’s police officers are ready and will be staffed up on New Year’s Day.

The city on Monday debuted a new website explaining what is permissible and otherwise regarding cannabis.

And City Council members are still discussing rules.

Councilwoman Debbie Ortega offered a bill in the committee that would make it illegal to smoke marijuana outside on private property within 1,000 feet of a school. That bill was killed, but two others will go forward for full council votes.

One bill would make it illegal to “display, sell, distribute or grow” marijuana on any city-owned property, including a sidewalk or street, that is within 1,000 feet of a school.

And another bill would decriminalize the possession of more than an ounce of marijuana for anyone between the ages of 18 and 21. Previous bills on penalties didn’t consider people between those ages.

Jeremy P. Meyer: 303-954-1367, jpmeyer@denverpost.com or twitter.com/jpmeyerdpost

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