Marijuana Application Process


With help from the Boulder County Marijuana Licensing and Land Use departments the NCA has come up with this list of steps that are required to apply for and receive a license to sell marijuana.  This list will be fine tuned as more information becomes available and the NCA will track where in the process the Niwot application is.

Status as of June 24, 2017:

  • Boulder County District Court Judge Norma Sierra upheld the decision of the Boulder County Commissioners which approved a marijuana retail

Link to Boulder County Special Use Docket SU-15-0001



A. Land Use

  1. Pre Application conference
  2. Applicant placed on wait list
  3. Special Use (SU) Application submitted once called in from the wait list, a planner is assigned
    Apr 13, 2015: Assigned Planner: Steven Williams
  4. Reviewed by Land Use, referral agencies, and public
    May 13, 2015: Complete Application received, expect to complete review by end of June
    View the application
  5. A sign will be posted at the site and post cards sent to homes within 1,500’ stating that Land Use is accepting public comment.
    May 18, 2015: Sign was posted at the site and all postcards should have been received.
    Postcard:  Front  Back
  6. Land Use collects input from the public as it reviews the application.
    May 19, 2015: Public input will be collected through June 17, 2015
  7. Land Use drafts staff recommendation based on Code analysis and input received and submits to the Planning Commission.
    Jul 02, 2015: Land Use requested additional information be submitted
    Sep 18, 2015:  Response from applicant posted to the docket page.
    The Land Use department will now accept public comment though October 23, 2015
    Related news: Steven Williams has been replaced by Hannah Hippely as the Land Use Department assigned planner for this application.
    Oct 23, 2015: Public input received by the Land Use department.  Expect recommendation in December.
    Dec 29, 2015: Land Use recommendation expected in January and submitted to the Planning Commission for their February meeting.
    Jan 29, 2016: Land Use is waiting on the results of an independent traffic generation study from the Transportation Department.
    Feb 25, 2016: A recommendation is now expected in March for the Planning Commission to review at their April meeting.
    Apr 13, 2016: Land Use staff recommendation is to ‘conditionally approve’ the application for the marijuana retail business in Niwot.

B. Planning Commission

  1. Public hearing to review the application and the Land Use recommendation, includes public comment.
    Mar 31, 2016: Land Use confirmed that the application is on agenda for the Apr-20 meeting.
    Apr 13, 2016: Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for 1:30pm Apr 20, 2016
  2. Make a recommendation to approve/deny application and send to commissioners
    Apr 20, 2016: The Planning Commission voted 6-0 to recommend conditional approval of the application: The 12 conditions in the Land Use recommendation plus a 13th condition: Limit hours of operation to 10am to 7pm

C. Boulder County Commissioners

  1. Public hearing to review the application and the Land Use staff recommendation, includes public comment
    Jun 1, 2016:  The public hearing will be June 29 and the decision will be made the next day at their June 30 meeting.
  2. Make a decision to approve/deny application
    Jun 30, 2016: The Boulder County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve SU-15-0001, the application for a retail marijuana dispensary in Niwot.  The only change to the Land Use / Planning commission recommendation was to include language that would allow the operator to apply for a change in hours of operation that could be handled administratively by Land Use and not require a public hearing.
    Jun 6,2017: Boulder County District Court Judge Norma Sierra upheld the decision of the Boulder County Commissioners which approved a marijuana retail

D. IF approved – Land Use

  1. Works with the applicant to complete all post approval conditions
    – Complete a development agreement which outlines the long term expectations and limitations for the development.
    – May require other specific actions as determined to be necessary through the review and approval process.
  2. Ensures long term compliance with approval

      IF denied

  1. Request made the application may not proceed

E. Licensing process

  1. Application is submitted to State of Colorado
    They have a significant process which includes background, security, and financial checks.
  2. Application is submitted to Boulder County
    Process includes several steps including confirming that the property taxes have been paid, building inspection division, and several other agencies. Both are significant processes and are dependent on each other. If one is denied, the other will be denied. If one is approved and the other is denied, then the first will be revoked