Denver, Colorado has passed a measure to allow businesses such as bars, cafes and even yoga studios to allow social marijuana consumption in designated areas. The measure calls for the creation of a 4 year pilot program where businesses could seek a city-issued permit so long as they have backing from a local neighborhood or business group. The measure would allow tourists to have a place to smoke as well as residents who have landlords that have banned it on the premises. It also gives a space for residents to socially smoke in the same way adults enjoy social drinking.
Initiative 300 and Progress Toward Marijuana Normalization
Colorado was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana and, thanks to the new legislature, the state is making history again as one of the first places in the U.S. to legalize social marijuana. The measure, known as Initiative 300, has passed 53 percent to 47 percent, although results are not official until the election is certified on November 22nd. Businesses who receive a permit to allow social marijuana consumption will be subject to following the same types of regulations that alcohol licenses place on businesses. It is ultimately a big step towards normalizing and integrating marijuana into regular life.
Opposition Accepts Defeat
Rachel O’Bryan, spokesperson for an opposition group called Protect Denver’s Atmosphere, said that while the campaign was willing to accept defeat, they ask that the city officials in charge of initiating the program do so carefully so as not to overwhelm Denver residents. O’Bryan said that her group was worried that Initiative 300 would encourage more people to smoke in public and harm public safety. Aside from the closed off designated smoking areas, all marijuana consumption is still illegal to do in public and the group wants to make sure Initiative 300 doesn’t change this. O’Bryan is asking officials to take extra steps to ensure that this doesn’t happen.
The Victory of Social Marijuana Use
Many are relieved and excited about the passing of the measure with lead proponent Kayvan Khalatbari, co-owner of Denver Relief Consulting, issuing a statement saying, “We are truly grateful to the people of Denver for approving this sensible measure to allow social cannabis use in the city. This is a victory for cannabis consumers who, like alcohol consumers, simply want the option to enjoy cannabis in social settings.” Initiative 300 allows adults over the age of 21 to bring their own marijuana to a public place for social consumption. Marijuana may be eaten, vaped or smoked under the new law.
The movement forward is indicative of the current trend sweeping the nation. A slow but steady end to prohibition has been happening as 4 more states, California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts, just legalized recreational marijuana on November 8th. This means recreational marijuana is now legal in 8 states, plus Washington D.C. 4 more states also passed medical marijuana laws, bringing the total number of states that have medical marijuana up to 28, plus D.C. It would seem that the nation is on its way to ending the archaic prohibition laws that banned a plant that is both safer and healthier than cigarettes and alcohol.