Customers wait in line to enter LoDo Wellness in downtown Denver on the first day of retail sales of marijuana in Colorado on Jan. 1, 2014. (AAron Ontiveroz, Denver Post file)

Denver retail marijuana sales brisk; process mellow

Denver’s marijuana czar wasn’t cheering the first day of retail pot sales in the city, but she was pleased it was rolling out so smoothly.

“Things have really been going well,” Ashley Kilroy, executive director of Denver’s marijuana policy, said at a news conference Wednesday at City Hall. “We really haven’t seen a negative impact.”

On Wednesday nearly half of the state’s licensed retail marijuana shops opened in Denver with no disturbances or major complaints, Kilroy said.

In Denver, 17 of the 18 licensed marijuana shops opened for business. Across Colorado, another 20 retail marijuana stores welcomed recreational marijuana customers.

The biggest concern Denver officials had was that marijuana buyers would disregard municipal laws prohibiting public use of marijuana, Kilroy said.

“We haven’t seen any of that,” she said.

Denver officials see it as their duty to ensure the orderly transformation of a new reality: pot is now legal.

“Voters have spoken. We have to implement the laws,” Kilroy said.

Denver voters approved the “retail” marijuana initiative by 66 percent, which was higher than rates overall around the state, she said.

But that doesn’t mean Denver will overlook deep concerns of the minority of residents in Denver. Denver officials are very concerned about quality of life and safety concerns, Kilroy said.

Denver officials see themselves as being in an educational phase of implementation of the new law by spreading the word that it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to buy or use recreational marijuana, she said.

City officials will continue to closely monitor the progress of marijuana sales the next two years and make changes as needed.

“We’re listening to all of our citizens,” Kilroy said.

Kirk Mitchell: 303-954-1206, or

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