Long Story Short
Even though marijuana use is legal in Colorado, it’s up to the local governments and it’s people to decide where marijuana can and can’t be used. Last week, the Denver Elections Division approved a proposed initiative that could allow the use of marijuana in certain businesses. The Division turned down a competing measure with thousands of signatures on the local ballot. The proposed initiative that made the ballot had 10,800 signatures.
The proposed initiative will allow city voters to decide whether or not businesses like bars, cafes, or even yoga studios should be allowed to have indoor or outdoor marijuana consumption areas. Proponents of the initiative believe people to consume cannabis in more locations will reduce some of the problems with the current recreational marijuana laws.
Citizens Consuming Cannabis
Besides on one’s private property, there are few places where people can legally consume marijuana in Denver. So, unless you’re okay with being stuck to the confines of your home every time you want to get high, you may find a problem with this. This is even worse for tourists, who may be visiting the state with the recreational cannabis laws in mind.
“We’ve seen public consumptions citations and arrests increase dramatically here in Denver over the last couple of years,” said Kayvan Khalatbari, co-owner of Denver Relief Consulting, which supports the proposed initiative and it focuses on consumption areas in local businesses.
Public Consumption of Cannabis
“We’re seeing some of the highest disparities in arrests for people of color over white folks for public consumptions of cannabis,” Khalatbari said. “And it’s often not because of the tourist issue, and giving them a place, but for the residents of Denver.”
Khalatbari and associates believe that by giving the residents of Denver more options when it comes to public consumption, the room for discrimination drastically decreases.
Before a business can create an indoor or outdoor consumption area, they must first have the approval of neighborhood groups. The most limiting condition to this initiative is the fact that an application for an annual or temporary permit will need to be co-signed by a “neighborhood group, such as a city-registered neighborhood organization or business improvement district,” according to The Cannabist.
Neighborhood groups would also have the ability to suggest conditions on the way consumption areas are operated while the city licensing officials to look over a permit application.
The Final Hit
Even if the proposed initiative passes, dispensaries will not be able to take advantage of on-site marijuana consumption due to state license restrictions. Only people above the age of twenty-one will be able to enter consumption areas. Outside consumption areas cannot be visible from public areas or places where children congregate. All consumption areas must be at least one thousand feet away from a school. There are many limits on this initiative, but it’s better than the options residents and tourists in Denver have now.