Denver May Become First City Allowing Public Consumption of Marijuana

A new measure approved by voters in Colorado last November has opened the door for Denver to possibly become the first city allowing public use of cannabis.

A new task force currently is working on a proposal to allow certain designated areas in the city to legally allow marijuana consumption.

Such a move would prove a big step forward in the legal marijuana trend sweeping parts of the nation.

Marijuana Public Consumption: Current Law

Eight states and the District of Columbia allow recreational use of marijuana. Medical marijuana use is legal in 28 states, as well.

However, in each case the laws restrict where people can partake of marijuana. While you can legally buy cannabis at a dispensary, most places restrict consumption to private homes. Many states also allow people to grow a limited number of marijuana plants at home.

However, interest has grown in many places that have legal recreational marijuana to allow partaking of cannabis in public spaces. Just how that will look is something that officials in Denver, a city that has led the way in how to regulate legal marijuana, now wants to figure out.

The Denver Situation

In November, voters in Colorado approved a “social use” amendment to current law that would allow public use of marijuana. However, the language of the measure is vague about how that would work.

Some restrictions are in place. For example, the Colorado Liquor Control Board already has established regulations that bar places which serve alcohol as being able to also allow marijuana use.

A task force of government officials, Denver business owners, marijuana activists and opponents have started working on details of the proposal, according to the Associated Press. Among the places under consideration are restaurants, coffee shops, yoga studios and event facilities.

City official will have the final word on the ultimate set of rules. While business can now apply for licenses to allow public use of marijuana, there is no deadline for approving the final rules. The fee for a license is $2,000.

A vote of people in the surrounding neighborhood would be necessary to approve allowing a place where cannabis can be used.

“There are plenty of places in Denver where you can find neighbors who want this kind of establishment,” Emmet Reistroffer, a cannabis industry consultant, told the AP. He helped run the campaign to get social use approved last year.

Some areas in Colorado already allow “members only” marijuana clubs, but Denver has banned such facilities until now.

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