As local officials across Massachusetts are bracing for the start of legal marijuana sales next month, the mayor of Denver took to the Boston airwaves Monday morning to describe his experience running a city with legal pot.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, a Democrat who like Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh "adamantly opposed" legalization, told Boston Herald Radio's "Morning Meeting" on Monday that his fears did not come to fruition and that he is "converted."
"The sky hasn't fallen like I thought it would," he said. "If you regulate it properly, enforce the laws around it and you set up your government to help work collaboratively with the industry, good things will happen."
Hancock said his office has been working with Walsh's office to help Boston prepare for the expected launch of legal marijuana sales in Massachusetts in July.
"Hopefully Massachusetts takes lessons from cities like Denver, states like Colorado, Washington and Seattle," Hancock said. "I can tell you that Marty Walsh has dispatched, in previous months, his team to come talk to us and we've spent some time helping Boston get ready for this."
Denver has more than 300 retail marijuana stores, but Hancock said the Mile High City has not had problems with marijuana stores leading to increases in neighborhood crime, loitering or similar issues.
"They're respected businesses," he said of the shops that generated more than $40 million in sales tax revenue for his city last year. "Outside of seeing a leaf in a window or something of that nature, many of them you don't even know where they exist."
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission meets Thursday and could issue the first legal marijuana business license. State regulators expect legal sales to begin on or around July 1