Colorado and cannabis revolution have been intimately linked in the last few years. Of course, the state has far more to offer than just legal herb. However, even with legal purchasing and possession, cannabis users remain socially persecuted and ostracized. This November, the NACCPP measure on the ballot hopes to pull cannabis users more fully out of the shadows.
The NACCPP, or Neighborhood Approved Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program, seeks to increase the ability of businesses to provide a place for cannabis consumption.
By doing so, it allows for the creation of safe, supervised spaces (similar to alcohol regulations), so cannabis users have access to traditional social environments without being segregated from mainstream society.
This will allow bars, clubs, restaurants, even temporary events like concerts to cater to the cannabis crowd, instead of losing their business. As long as they abide by Indoor Clean Air laws, and prevent other patrons from being exposed to unwanted second-hand vapors, then they can let cannabis users enjoy.
The petition drive that put this measure on the ballot brought in 10,800 signatures, well above the 4,726 required. Now the fate of the potential law rests on the shoulders of voters.
Before a business can allow consumption, they have to coordinate with neighborhood organizations. This ensures that the cannabis consumption falls within established community culture for that area and does so in a respectful manner. Communities get a say before the location can apply for a license.
Another limitation is that inhaled forms are limited to vaporizers only. No combustion, no smoke allowed. This allows for the prevention of fire hazards and the lingering effects of smoke.
Benefits for cannabis & society
This will do two big things for the cannabis community. First, it normalizes cannabis use. By allowing alcohol establishments to cater to herbal patrons, increasing business, and mingling our image with others, it takes use out of the shadows.
Second, and this is huge for many people, it finally allows a place for people to publicly use cannabis.
Solving the public versus private problem
For tourists to the area, buying herb comes easy, but finding a place to legally ingest it remains more difficult. Public areas are out, as are virtually all hotels.
Currently, people can only partake on private property. This seems okay until you realize that more Americans than ever before rent instead of own their own home. Landlords can still enforce restrictions not only on use, but personal grows as well.
Even townhomes that are purchased or suburban neighborhoods that have formed neighborhood charters can ostracize cannabis users.
So where do legal consumers go to stay legal, especially from out of town? This measure solves that problem, at least for vaping.
Excitement for events
Stacey Mulvey, of Colorado Cannabis Tours, spoke to us and said that in addition to social inclusion, what excites her is the possibility of,
Not only bars or coffeeshops with an area for people to vape, but say you’re a movie theater or having an event or play or something, you can apply for a one-time permit. Imagine an art opening. These events often allow for champange or alcohol to be served, why not allow people to vape while they are there?
You can actually have community events, and allow vape pens there. Nobody says ‘oh you can’t serve alcohol at this function’, so the whole point of legalization is to treat cannabis like alcohol.
That’s what this measure finally does. It regulates it just like alcohol, and allows for it to take place alongside alcohol even. You no longer have to stay home and sit on your couch and only smoke weed, you can be socially active, but we aren’t going all out like the Wild West.
We are adults and we are doing this in a socially responsible and regulated manner.
Could we see more businesses embrace catering to the ever-growing cannabis community? Will being around cannabis users take the myth and stigma away from its use? Will people finally begin to see it as safer and more socially pleasing that alcohol? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.