Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Administration(DPA)


Public Policy and Administration


Amin Asfari


On October 1, 2013, the city of Denver adopted bill CB 570 allowing state-licensed retail marijuana businesses. Section 6-211(b) of the Denver Code of Ordinance codified distance separations between licensed retail marijuana sites and prohibited locations. Using distance decay theory coupled with Geographic Information systems (GIS)-based multicriteria analyses, Denver's licensed retail marijuana stores were evaluated in relation to their proximity compliance with �6-211(b). Using GIS topology testing from 1000 feet to 650 feet, current retail marijuana stores had a compliance percent ranging between 29% to 56% from each other, 2% to 7% from licensed medical marijuana stores, 39% to 68% from childcare centers, and 41% to 70% from schools. Using a 1-sample t-test, separation distances of 56 licensed retail marijuana stores were evaluated for compliance. Significant noncompliance was found between sited licensing locations and distance separation requirements [(M = 59.05, SD = 145.43); t (55) = -12.645, p = 0.000] illustrating �6-211(b) separation distances are not fully enforced. Using post hoc analysis, GIS-based multicriteria analyses containing suitability factors and constraints revealed 650 feet as an ideal separation distance, bringing currently licensed sites to 93.1% increase rate of regulatory compliance. The implications of this study for social change include offering the city of Denver a proposed distance amendment, which if enacted, would reduce social vulnerability, bring significant compliance to current marijuana retail stores, and provide future guidance for issuing of new retail licenses. These changes offer a sustainable and compliant business growth future with regulatory control.