Coloradans in Denver could be getting “mile high” in cannabis clubs and cafes if the changing opinions of Mayor Michael Hancock mean anything. Three years ago, Hancock was adamant about keeping marijuana use under tight wraps, despite the state’s legalization of both recreational and medicinal cannabis.
“I propose and advocate for the most restrictive regulatory environment for marijuana,” he said in 2013. “And I believe that by allowing private clubs, it doesn’t speak to that value.”
But now, it seems things might be changing.
According to Jeremy Meyer, who writes for The Denver Post and who had access to a meeting between the newspaper’s editorial board and Hancock, the mayor recently said:
“When you start looking at what the users are doing, whether they are visitors, walking up and down the mall and smoking in our parks, you recognize if someone doesn’t have a residence here that they have got to haven an outlet.”
“I haven’t said, ‘Yes'” to the idea of allowing pot clubs or cannabis cafes, “but I have said, ‘Give me more information.'”
Definitely not a green light, but possibly a move toward creating places where people can smoke pot in public.
In the wake of recreational pot being legalized in Colorado, figuring out how to deal with the public consumption of cannabis has apparently become a challenge for Denver city officials and law enforcement.
“We hear from visitors and residents all the time that they don’t want to take their kids to the 16th Street Mall, saying they worry they will get a contact high,” Hancock said.
And since publicly smoking herb in Colorado can result in nothing more than a civil violation rather than a criminal one, “there is a great deal of frustration for the police department that they are not able to truly cite someone” for smoking in public.
Changing the city’s stance regarding pot clubs could be a good way of making it possible for people to enjoy ganja in a public space that’s separate from places like pedestrian malls and parks.
It could also become a significant draw for tourists.
With Alaska legalizing cannabis cafes this year, Hancock and other Colorado lawmakers might have a chance to see how this type of venue impacts a city. And if Alaska’s cafes do anywhere near as well as many pot experts think they will, that impact is likely to be a hugely positive one.