Denver Ballot Initiative Reignites Social Use Debate

Denver Ballot Initiative Reignites Social Use Debate

Flickr / Darren Johnson / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Initiative 300, a ballot initiative in Denver, Colorado, is reigniting the debate over whether to allow social use of marijuana in city businesses. Although Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, cities and towns have been reluctant to embrace marijuana social clubs or designated areas outside of the home.

Under the proposed ordinance, Denver businesses, as a part of a four year pilot program, would be allowed apply for a permit to create designated marijuana consumption areas, both indoors and outdoors. Smoking marijuana would only be allowed outdoors and businesses would be required to have an odor control plan.

In order to obtain a permit, businesses would be required to have an endorsement from a community organization. Speaking with The Denver Post, state Rep. Jonathan Singer, a supporter of the measure, said that Initiative 300 would be “a good bellwether” for the state’s political will to solve the issue of social use.

“Finally, law enforcement is going to have the opportunity to tell people: ‘You know what, you can’t smoke in the park, you can’t smoke in a hotel, you can’t smoke in any number of places — but here is where you can go,’ ” Singer said.

If approved, the Denver City Council would be responsible for reviewing the program every four years and would have the ability to alter or repeal the measure with a two-thirds majority vote.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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