Adult recreational cannabis users living in Denver are waking up to a whole new world of possibility. It’s already legal to smoke marijuana in social settings in Denver. The catch is that adults can only consume cannabis at specially approved, private venues. However, in a race that was initially too close to call, Denver has passed a city ordinance that makes it legal to consume cannabis in more public areas and businesses.
Expanding Public Access
Last week, the city of Denver passed Ordinance 300. Now, the ordinance enables business, clubs, and event venues to apply for special “social cannabis consumption” permits. After obtaining the permits, residents — 21+ years of age, of course — will be able to socialize and consume marijuana more publicly.
Previously, cannabis consumption had to take place in private spaces, behind closed doors, typically at home. Importantly, the new ordinance also allows tourists access to more spaces for social cannabis.
However, it was a tightly fought race to pass the ordinance. Predictably, neighborhood residents expressed concern about a more liberal public pot policy. In fact, Denver city officials were still counting ballots days after votes were cast. So the ordinance passed narrowly.
Hopefully, an important part of the law will put neighborhood concerns to rest. Residents will tailor-make each permit to fit the community or business. Furthermore, venues hoping to obtain a permit will need to convince neighborhood residents to approve it. So getting people behind the proposal is going to involve some negotiating.
Business or venues who want to obtain a permit through Ordinance 300 will need to get the support of at least one area group. Possibilities include groups like city-registered neighborhood groups like a neighborhood watch organization. Or support could come from something like a business improvement council.
Additionally, permit-seeking entities will need to meet three requirements. First, patrons have to bring their own cannabis. Second, marijuana smoking still has to be done out of sight, but vaping is allowed indoors. Finally, it will be impossible to get a permit for any venue near where children may gather, like a school, playground, or park.
Ordinance 300 Praised By Cannabis Advocates
Cannabis advocates want to expand public access and bring marijuana consumption into the light of day. Therefore, they are praising the passage of Denver’s Ordinance 300. “Moving forward we need and deserve safe cannabis-friendly social venues,” said Madeline Martinez, founder/owner/sole proprietress of the World Famous Cannabis Cafe.
Kim Cole, the owner of Raspberry Roots, a fully integrated cultivation, manufacturing, and retail business, explained how “It is essential that people have a place to consume cannabis for so many reasons. We don’t want tourists to light up in their hotels or cars.”
And those arguments make sense. Forcing people to consume cannabis in private and out of sight puts them in a tough position. Parents don’t want to smoke at home, in case their children might see them or smell cannabis. Many people rent apartments. And lease agreements often prohibit smoking.
Smoking in a car can get you in trouble with cops looking to crack down on stoned driving. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on Denver’s progressive policies. They could be good models for the nation.