On November 8th of 2016, 54% of Denver voters passed legislation for the city to create a 4-year pilot program for public cannabis consumption, also known as Initiative 300. Despite push-back from business owners, it looks like the city of Denver may begin accepting applications for public consumption cannabis clubs by the end of August.
Permit details for cannabis clubs
In order to obtain a permit, places of business must complete a “checklist” of items in order to even be considered.
First, a neighborhood organization must back the permit. In areas with a permit, those 21 years and older will be able to consume their own cannabis in a designated indoor or outdoor area. Additionally, the neighborhood has some influence over the days, and times this permit is able to operate.
Businesses that grow or sell cannabis will NOT be able to apply for a social consumption permit. Businesses with liquor licenses will be able to apply but must adhere to strict guidelines regarding when they can and cannot use the permit.
If a permit is successfully obtained, adhere’s to all of the guidelines, and is supported by a local business, the permit will cost about $2000 in total.
Businesses and Initiative 300
A variety of businesses have taken part in forming the revised Initiative 300 legislation. These businesses include coffee shops, yoga studios, and businesses with outdoor spaces perfect for social consumption.
The advisory board for the revised I-300 legislation is made up of those that both support and oppose the law overall, in addition to members of the community hoping to apply for a permit this fall. The group’s aim was to create a piece of legislation that would support all Denver citizens, not just those hoping to enjoy cannabis in a social setting.
Rachel O’Bryan, who managed the anti-Initiative 300 campaign, worries about the impact of social consumption on the youth in Denver. Another concern of hers is safety, saying
Denver citizens and visitors should be vigilant around the increased risks of marijuana-impaired driving.
These concerns have been taken seriously by the advisory board. Permits will be subject to location, proximity to schools and child-care centers. Additionally, businesses granted a permit will display signs similar to those displayed under liquor establishments – no impaired driving!
The influence of Red Rocks
The current version of I-300, as well as it’s original introduction via the vote on November 8th was influenced by the public consumption that occurs illegally at venues like Red Rocks.
While the amphitheater is famous for the acts it draws to the great state of Colorado, the outdoor space has increasingly become a place to smoke publicly despite the venues efforts to keep concerts cannabis-free.
While legislators could still make changes to the proposed I-300 draft, supporters feel confident about the version that has most recently been revised. Hopefully, starting in August, businesses will be able to appeal viable permits to the state, helping Colorado to become one of the most progressive cannabis states in the country.