Monday, February 26, 2024

Why Denver’s Marijuana Cafes Have Already Failed

Denver’s marijuana cafes are getting closer to reality, but don’t spark one up in celebration just yet. The rules and regulations created by a 22-person task force may harsh your mellow.

Nearly eight months after voters in the Mile High city approved an initiative to become the first city in the nation to allow “marijuana designated consumption areas,”officials on Friday finally unveiled a 14-page set of regulations. Advocates on both sides of the issue are scratching their heads in wonderment.

On Nov. 8 of last year, nearly 54 percent of Denver voters said yes to Initiative 300, a four-year pilot program allowing patron of approved businesses to consume cannabis in a social setting. But many supporters of the initiative believe what they voted for and what they are getting are two different things.

“Since the very beginning, we wanted this to be a discussion between neighborhood groups and businesses,” Emmett Reistroffer, who helped lead the pro-300 campaign, told the Denver Post last month. “We think some of these rules kind of circumvent that intent.”

Here are some of the specifics of the new regulations:

  • Businesses are not allowed to sell cannabis. It is strictly BYOB (bring your own bud)
  • Smoking is not allowed.
  • Vaping is allowed.
  • Edibles are allowed
  • Customers are not allowed to sell cannabis to others.
  • Businesses will not be allowed to serve alcohol if cannabis is being consumed on the premises.
  • Cafes must be 1,000 feet from schools, child care centers and recreational facilities, forcing establishments into industrial areas away from foot traffic.
  • Businesses must pay a $2,000 fee for a permit

“What we’re approving today is far from what the voters approved six months ago,” Reistroffer told Buzzfeed. “I would say 99 percent of the businesses that expressed interest in these permits are no longer eligible or interested because of the burdens.”

Colorado became the first state to allow for recreational marijuana sales on January 1, 2013. But since then, tourists and residents alike have struggled to find a suitable place to consume it.

Unless some of the regulations are loosened, it appears Denver’s four-year pilot project will struggle to get off the ground.


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