Colorado, which had led the nation in the legalized marijuana movement, is about to blaze a trail in yet another important area.
Even in the eight states that now sell adult-use marijuana – and the 29 states allowing medical marijuana – one thing is forbidden: smoking or partaking of marijuana in a public place.
Where you can go to a pub to get a beer or order wine with your meal at a restaurant, there is no place to go to indulge in cannabis.
But it’s about the happen in Denver.
First In the Nation
This case will likely prove a test case for other areas of the U.S. where cannabis is legal. The city of Denver will begin next month to take applications from businesses that want to operate as a “social use” spot for marijuana users.
In another words, businesses were people can partake of marijuana if they want.
There’s nothing else like it in the country. About 54 percent of Denver voters approved the pilot program in November 2016. Called Initiative 300, the program allows for “designated consumption areas” within the city.
As described in the recently completed regulations released by the city, businesses applying for a cannabis consumption permit must first run a gauntlet of permitting from a variety of city departments. Those include the Department of Community Planning and Development, Department of Environmental Health and the Denver Fire Department.
Once getting a permit, a business must adhere to strict rules. They include:
- Constant monitoring of all entrances during times when cannabis is being used
- Ensuring that everyone allowed in has a government-issued identification
- Ensuring all patrons are at least 21 years of age
- Consumption of cannabis cannot be seen from anywhere outside the establishment where children congregate or any public place
Additionally, businesses seeking a cannabis consumption permit will need the backing from a neighborhood association, a business improvement district’s board or another organized group in the neighborhood.
Yoga and Coffee Shops
Interestingly, businesses who have expressed a desire to seek a permit range beyond the expected restaurants and bars.
Many coffee shops with backyard patios and yoga studios in Denver also have signaled they will seek a permit, according to the Denver Post.
The cost for a permit ranges around $2,000. Businesses who receive permits also must follow strict rules banning alcohol sales. This is because the state does not allow the mixing of marijuana and alcohol sales at the same establishment or event.
With interest high among cannabis users for a place to congregate with friends outside of their own homes, the pilot program in Denver will be watched closely by other legal marijuana states around the country. It may provide the blueprint for allowing “designated consumption areas” around the country.