Jul 15, 2021 - Business

Denver's first legal pot delivery could come from this couple

A photo of Karina and Ari standing together and smiling while taking a selfie

Photo courtesy of the Cohens

Meet Karina and Ari Cohen, the couple behind the company that could become Denver's first cannabis delivery enterprise.

Driving the news: The Cohens, who moved to Colorado from the East Coast nearly five years ago, are the first in Denver to apply for a delivery permit since the city legalized weed delivery and smoking lounges (fittingly) on April 20.

  • The license application process opened in late June.
  • Their self-funded startup, Doobba LLC, could start pot drop-offs by late summer or early fall, Denver excise and licenses spokesperson Molly Duplechian told Axios.

Why it matters: Ari's prior arrest for marijuana possession and delivery — which he tells Axios has shadowed him for decades — is serving as an asset rather than a scarlet 'A' in the city's application process.

  • That's thanks to new state and local laws that give exclusive permitting access and discounts to "social equity" applicants for the next six years.
  • The goal is to foster industry opportunities for people who have been disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs, and to promote diversity in Colorado's cannabis industry, a space overwhelmingly dominated by white business owners.

What they're saying: "It's super exciting that we're able to pave the way forward for other social equity businesses," Karina told Axios.

  • City officials say many more applicants are expected to roll in over the coming weeks based on the number of inquiries they're receiving.

Yes, but: Recreational marijuana delivery was first legalized in neighboring Aurora — which issued its first permit in February — and it remains off to a slow start, Westword reports.

  • "It's not competitive at this point. The competition is just getting the word out there," Tim Cullen, CEO of Colorado Harvest Company, told Westword. "So far, it's been testing a proof of concept and seeing if this can work in Denver."

What to watch: The Cohens are starting with two delivery vehicles and two drivers to span across Denver and Aurora, where they also applied for a permit — but they say that's just the start.

  • "One of our goals as a company is to open up in more jurisdictions in the state that you wouldn't even expect," Ari says. "Douglas County is at the top of our list."

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