Pot shoppers make a late night purchase at Emerald Fields in Glendale, which is open till midnight, April 29, 2015. Shops in Denver are forced by the city to close by 7 p.m., and it's become an issue with pot shop owners within Denver city limits. (John Leyba, The Denver Post)

Committee proposes compromise on Denver marijuana dispensary hours

A measure that would extend Denver’s marijuana shop sales to midnight was pared back to 10 p.m. Monday before a committee sent it to the full City Council.

The momentum of the revised proposal gave hope to marijuana industry representatives who have pushed for a later closing time to compete with neighboring cities. But the council also has heard push-back in recent weeks from some dispensary neighbors and others concerned about the change.

Denver allows its 216 medical and recreational storefronts to operate from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Marijuana Industry Group has sought more parity with Glendale and Edgewater, which allow sales until midnight — the latest allowed by Colorado law — and Aurora, which cuts off sales at 10 p.m.

“Midnight is a non-starter for me, but 10 o’clock is a reasonable compromise for the consumer,” said Councilman Paul Kashmann, who represents southeast Denver. “These are not thugs and criminals that are doing this. These are going to be everyday folks looking to get their shopping done.”

The council’s marijuana special-issue committee, which includes all members, voted 11-2 to advance the proposal.

Voting no were Debbie Ortega and Chris Herndon. Herndon said he wasn’t comfortable with the proposal yet and planned to float a floor amendment to also change the allowed opening time, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The measure likely will be introduced in the council April 17, with a final vote April 24. The council likely will have a public hearing that night.

This story was first published on DenverPost.com