The Denver City Council on Monday gave initial approval to a measure decriminalizing the possession of an ounce of marijuana or less for people between the ages of 18 and 21. Penalties would include only fines and no jail time. (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)

Colorado issues first licenses for recreational marijuana businesses

Colorado on Monday became the first state in U.S. history to issue special licenses for recreational marijuana businesses.

After weeks of scrutiny of applications, the state Marijuana Enforcement Division mailed out licenses to 136 marijuana stores on Monday. Those stores — if they also have received approval from their local governments — will be able to start selling pot to the adult public on Jan. 1.

The Marijuana Enforcement Division also issued and mailed licenses for 31 marijuana-infused products makers and 178 marijuana-cultivation facilities.

Most of the approved stores are in Denver, where 102 businesses were issued their state license on Monday. Licenses were also issued to stores in towns from Alma to Edgewater to Garden City.

Colorado’s marijuana regulators have previously said they would make a decision on the hundreds of recreational cannabis business applications submitted in the month of October by the end of the year. Amendment 64, the measure that legalized marijuana use and limited possession in Colorado for people over 21, gives the state only 90 days to make a decision on an application.

“It has taken an enormous team effort to be able to issue state licenses in the timelines identified in Amendment 64,” Barbara Brohl, the head of Colorado’s Department of Revenue, which oversees marijuana business enforcement, said in a statement.

John Ingold: 303-954-1068, or

Licensed Retail Marijuana stores as of Dec. 23, 2013

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