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Justice with Jessica: Cannabis delivery drivers hope new bill can save businesses

Cannabis delivery drivers hope new bill can save businesses
Posted at 3:54 PM, Apr 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-14 17:54:58-04

DENVER — A bill created to promote social equity in Colorado's cannabis industry is making its way through the state legislature, and it's facing major pushback from some dispensaries.

In a March 27 House Finance Committee hearing on HB23-1020, lobbyists expressed concerns that it's too costly for them to work with social equity delivery drivers.

Delivery drivers, on the other hand, said the bill has some key elements that could help keep their business alive.

"I wanted to do it really for my kids to bring new opportunities," said Michael Diaz-Rivera, owner of Better Days Cannabis Delivery.

Diaz-Rivera, who was born and raised in the Denver metro, opened his business about two years ago.

He learned that he had the unique opportunity to be a cannabis delivery driver because he qualified under a social equity program.

“I got a felony for weed possession at the age of 19," said Diaz-Rivera. "Just being a homeless teen trying to survive.”

Diaz-Rivera quit his job teaching 5th graders and dedicated himself to his new business.

So far, he has partnered with two dispensaries and spends his days delivering cannabis to customers.

Diaz-Rivera said he has learned that even though he's in business now, barriers still exist.

"We've seen a lot of these established businesses just refuse to partner with us," he said. "And that's just not helpful for those of us that are already marginalized. And we've put our all into this. And they're just waiting for us to fail so that they can come in and do their own thing when we're trying to collaborate."

He's hoping HB23-1020 will change that.

One of its most contentious provisions would create "an independent delivery license for social equity licensees that allows for purchase of marijuana and marijuana products for sale and delivery to consumers" rather than customers having to purchase only through dispensaries.

Lobbyists critical of the bill spoke out on March 27.

Click here to see which dispensaries support, oppose, or want to amend the bill.

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