Denver Social Cannabis Initiative to Appear on November Ballot

A ballot initiative could solve a longstanding problem in Denver: where to consume legally purchased cannabis.

Although Colorado legalized recreational use in 2012, Amendment 64 does not allow for public use of marijuana. This puts tourists to the city in a bind–outside of the few pot-friendly hotels, there’s not really any legal place to consume marijuana.

The initiative, named the Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program, would allow businesses to create indoor or outdoor marijuana consumption areas, provided they meet certain requirements. As the name of the initiative suggests, businesses interested in applying for a permit from the City of Denver must also have approval from their local neighborhood association.

The initiative already appears to have popular support. 4,726 valid signatures are required to make the Denver ballot; the social cannabis consumption initiative received 10,800 signatures. So far, at least 50 businesses have pledged support.

If voters approve the initiative in November, a wide range of businesses–like yoga studios, art galleries, coffee shops, or concert venues–could change the social cannabis landscape in Denver.

However, there are a few things that won’t change: cannabis consumption is still 21-and up, and any indoor cannabis use must adhere to the Colorado Clean Air Act, meaning vape only. Smoking in designated areas outdoors is allowed, provided it’s not visible to the public.

Businesses will not be allowed to sell cannabis on site. Social cannabis consumption is strictly bring-your-own weed. Marijuana businesses, including dispensaries, will not be allowed to apply to the program because of state license restrictions.

The initiative is a pilot program meant to last four years, until the end of 2020. At that point, City Council has the option of making changes, making it permanent, or allowing it to expire.

Click here to see the ballot measure in full.