Denver City Council considers cap on marijuana businesses

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DENVER -- The Denver City Council will debate a proposal aimed at capping the number of marijuana shops and grow houses allowed within the city.

It could have a huge impact on millions of dollars from entrepreneurs looking to get into Colorado's budding marijuana industry. But others say the outcome also affects many neighborhoods and the children who live there.

The ordinance would call for new rules for issuing retail marijuana cultivation and sales licenses. It would prohibit the issue of new medical marijuana cultivation and sales licenses.

Supporters say the caps would allow some new business owners to get into the game without increasing the number of locations. It would offer more protection to low-income neighborhoods where the smell of marijuana is an issue.

The group Smart Colorado has been fighting the proliferation of marijuana shops, saying children are at risk.

"Use supported by our youth is significantly higher in Denver with 22.5 percent of eighth-graders reporting last month's marijuana use. That is one out of four," Smart Colorado co-founder Diane Carlson said.

On the other side, critics say a moratorium doesn't stop existing businesses from coming up with ways to expand.

The council plans to hold a one-hour public hearing on the proposal at 5:30 p.m. Monday. A final vote could come as early as April 18.

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