Denver Approves Public Consumption of all the Pot You Can Handle

Bring your own marijuana, peeps, and be very discrete.

While Colorado has been the leader in legalizing recreational weed, many visitors and some residents complained that though everyone was excited to buy and use cannabis products, people who lived there could only smoke weed in the privacy of their own homes, and tourists had fewer options than that.

Until now. Voters in the city and county of Denver approved Initiative 300—a measure that allows for public cannabis consumption in public areas such as bars and yoga studios. Of course, this measure means you have to bring your own pot. You can't smoke it in a saloon where the bartender has sold it to you.

From Huffington Post:

Supporters of Initiative 300 led 53 percent to 47 percent as of 6 p.m. ― a margin of 17,173 votes. State election officials noted that results were unofficial until the election is certified on Nov. 22. The Denver Post pointed out it would take a “supermajority” of opposition votes to shift the results as they stand now.

Initiative 300 will create a four-year pilot program that will allow Denver businesses to apply for a permit that would enable people 21 and over to bring their own weed to smoke in designated areas. Basically—a bar could section off a patio for weed lovers, and the cannabis contingent would have a public place to gather, chill, smoke, etc. If public consumption scheme works, the city will be required to vote for the program again in 2020.

Many bar owners in the area worry a toker section might affect insurance costs, and complicate the simple responsibility of keeping their customers safe. Also, seriously what we really want to know is: Are the bars charging a weed corkage fee for this shit?

A lot of things still need to be figured out. But the decision is a direct step toward weed normalization and an open future of public cannabis consumption. Pretty soon, it will be as normal to see someone smoking a J in a dive bar patio as it is a person drinking a Coors hidden in a paper bag on the back seat of a city bus.

Back to Colorado, a state that’s been capitalizing on weed tourism: Initiative 300 will only further the progress and payouts.

In case you’re curious at the wonk level about how this will really work, here’s the four-year pilot plan

• It will allow for limited social cannabis consumption by adults in designated consumption areas within establishments that choose to allow it, once the establishment has received support from their local eligible neighborhood association and obtained a permit from the City of Denver.

• It will NOT allow the of use cannabis in public places, such as sidewalks, alleys, or parks, or within 1,000 feet of anywhere children congregate.

• Cannabis consumption will only be allowed in establishments or areas within establishments that are (1) restricted to adults 21 years of age or older, and (2) not visible to individuals outside of the restricted areas where consumption is allowed.

• The social use of cannabis will be regulated by the City of Denver as far as where and when it can take place.

• Any establishment that chooses to allow social cannabis use will be required to comply with the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, which means only non-smokable forms of cannabis, such as vaporizers, will be allowed indoors. Smoking cannabis will only be allowed in designated exterior areas that are not visible to the public right of way. An odor control plan will be required and odor complaints may result in loss of permit.

• Any business, including art galleries, coffee shops, entertainment venues, private clubs, and more, will have the option of allowing the responsible consumption of cannabis in designated consumption areas.

• Establishments allowing cannabis consumption will be subject to regulation in a manner similar to alcohol, though businesses will need to garner at least one additional approval from an eligible neighborhood organization prior to applying for a permit with the city.

• This is a pilot program, which will sunset in 2020 unless extended by city council or an additional voter initiative.