It’s official: Denver will become the first city in the United States to legalize the use of marijuana in social settings such as bars, cafes and restaurants.
Residents of the Mile High City voted in favor of Initiative 300, a measure that will allow businesses to acquire city-issued permits to create “cannabis consumption areas.”
It took more than a week after the election to announce the victory because of the tight vote. But as of Wednesday, support for the initiative is at 53 percent with about 5,000 votes to be counted.
The new law will allow private businesses to establish designated areas for adults to consume marijuana — with a few exceptions:
- Customers will have to supply their own cannabis. The businesses cannot sell it.
- Smoking will not be allowed inside the premises, but vaporizing will.
- Outdoor patio smoking may be allowed.
- Locations must receive the approval of neighbors.
“This is a victory for cannabis consumers who, like alcohol consumers, simply want the option to enjoy cannabis in social settings,” Kayvan Khalatbari, lead proponent of the initiative. “This is a victory for the city of Denver, its diverse neighborhoods and those who don’t consume cannabis, as it will reduce the likelihood that adults will resort to consuming in public.” Khalatbari said Denver businesses could start opening their doors to cannabis enthusiasts by late January.
Colorado became the first state to allow for recreational marijuana sales on January 1, 2o13. But the law was unclear about public use. Tourists coming to Colorado have no problem purchasing cannabis products, but often struggled to find a place to consume it. The new law will provide places for tourists and residents alike.
“This is about personal responsibility and respecting adults who want to have a place to enjoy cannabis,” Emmett Reistroffer, a Denver marijuana consultant told the Associated Press.
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