By Thomas Mitchell/Westword

New marijuana business licenses reserved for low-income demographics are set to launch in Colorado in 2020, but questions remain about who should receive these licenses and how they should be regulated.

Created by Senate Bill 224, a 2019 law that overhauls the state's medical and recreational marijuana regulations, the new licenses are intended to add more diversity to Colorado's cannabis space while providing opportunity to entrepreneurs who don't have traditional training or funding outlets. Also known as micro licenses, the new permits would require the new businesses to use the facilities of established pot companies as they research and create their own cannabis products.

Colorado cannabis regulators and industry members began addressing the upcoming accelerator licenses during a state Marijuana Enforcement Division stakeholder meeting Friday, September 13. But instead of the usual roundtable discussion, the group of cannabis organization leaders, business owners and regulators broke into working groups to discuss issues such as how long the agreements should last between the accelerator and endorsing businesses, how the state could incentivize potential endorsers, and what criteria should qualify the new licensees.

"People from around the world look to us as an example on how to do things right," MED director Jim Burack said during the meeting. "What exactly is this relationship between endorser and accelerator? How do we ensure this business relationship is mutually beneficial?"