Weed Weekends: Are Marijuana Bars Coming To Denver?

Are Marijuana Bars Coming To Denver?

Have you always wanted to take a toke at your favorite yoga studio or your neighborhood bar? It could soon be a reality in Denver.

Just days after NORML’s pot club initiative failed to garner enough signatures to make it onto the November ballot, another initiative titled the Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program was approved. It garnered 10,800 signatures from registered voters, over double the required 4,726 signatures needed to make the ballot.

Inside the Marijuana Social Use Initiative

The initiative had quite a few influential backers including Kayvan Khalatbari and Emmet Reistroffer of Denver Relief Consulting as well as Amy Dannemiller (‘ganjapreneur’) and Wanda James (President of the Cannabis Global Initiative). It’s also backed by 50 businesses throughout Denver, with a goal of enlisting 500.

So, if it passed, what would the initiative mean for cannabis use in Denver?

Under certain conditions, it would allow users to bring their own marijuana products for use at approved indoor and outdoor consumption areas. Now, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to toke while walking down the street. What it means, is that businesses will be allowed to apply for an annual or temporary permit to create a consumption area. There’s just one more caveat; the permit would have to have the backing of a neighborhood group such as a city-registered neighborhood organization or a business improvement district.

The initiative would make changes to city ordinances in order to create consumption area permits. And while businesses would still have to comply with the state’s anti-smoking law indoors, it would open up other possibilities. For now, the initiative is a four-year pilot program that would expire in 2020, allowing the city to make it permanent, tweak it or get rid of it.

Will the Initiative Pass?

At this point, it’s too early to tell if the initiative will pass. It will be up to voters. So far, Mayor Michael Hancock hasn’t taken a position and some attorneys have raised questions about its validity. The reality is that Amendment 64 explicitly banned the public use of marijuana under state and local laws, so some officials are worried. However, there is legal precedent. A few Colorado cities and towns have implemented private marijuana clubs. This would just be another step for Denver.

How to Vote

To cast your vote this November, look for the “City of Denver Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program.” The wording on the ballot is as follows:

“Shall the voters of the City and County of Denver adopt an ordinance that creates a cannabis consumption pilot program where: the City and County of Denver (the “City”) may permit a business or a person with evidence of support of an eligible neighborhood association or business improvement district to allow the consumption of marijuana (“cannabis”) in a designated consumption area; such associations or districts may set forth conditions on the operation of a designated consumption area, including permitting or restricting concurrent uses, consumptions, or services offered, if any; the designated consumption area is limited to those over the age of twenty-one, must comply with the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, may overlap with any other type of business or licensed premise, and cannot be located within 1000 feet of a school; a designated consumption area that is located outside cannot be visible from a public right-of-way or a place where children congregate; the City shall create a task force to study the impacts of cannabis consumption permits on the city; the City may enact additional regulations and ordinances to further regulate designated consumption areas that are not in conflict with this ordinance; and the cannabis consumption pilot program expires on December 31, 2020 or earlier if the City passes comprehensive regulations governing cannabis consumption?”

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