DENVER — A Denver couple is officially the first to apply for a license to deliver marijuana in the city after city council approved the measure earlier this year.
For Ari Cohen, not a cloud of smoke, but instead a cloud of judgment has hovered over him for nearly three decades.
"That arrest has kind of stayed with me throughout my life," Ari Cohen said.
In his 20s, Cohen was arrested on a felony marijuana charge.
"For some of the jobs that I’ve had, I’ve always had to explain myself and what’s happened to me, and it’s always stuck with me," Ari Cohen said.
He's now a father, business owner and, along with his wife Karina, the first to apply for a marijuana delivery license in Denver.
"We are thrilled to be the ones to be paving the way," Karina Cohen said.
Because of Ari Cohen's prior marijuana arrest, the couple actually met one of the social equity programs three requirements.
"It’s something that he did 30 years ago and, to this day, still negatively impacted. Finally, this is the first opportunity where he’s able to see something positive," Karina Cohen said.
Eric Escudero with the City and County of Denver says there was more than $2 billion in marijuana sales in Colorado in 2020, which includes more than $700 million in sales in Denver alone. He says the number of those who have benefited from that money is small.
"There’s been plenty of time for those who are connected, who have money and the resources necessary to get marijuana licenses. Now, delivery is a real opportunity," Escudero said of evening the playing field.
June 23 was the first day to apply. Karina Cohen says cutting through the red tape wasn't easy, which included starting their new company Doobba.
Now, the Cohens wait for final approval as the city expects a lot more applications to continue rolling in.
"It’s really an honor. It’s about a bigger purpose then just us," Karina Cohen said.
Escudero anticipates the first weed delivery in Denver around early fall.