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Denver’s Marijuana “Coffee Shops” Initiative Makes Nov. Ballot

Marijuana Social Clubs

The Denver Elections Division has approved an initiative for the November ballot to allow social use of marijuana in approved businesses. If passed, bars, cafes, yoga studios, and other businesses could be permitted to create marijuana use areas, either indoors or outdoors. The law would essentially allow certain Denver businesses to become Amsterdam-like “coffee shops.”

Conditions surrounding a business’ ability to have a consumption area requires applying for a permit for either annual or temporary licensing, according to The Denver Post. Approval from city registered neighborhood groups or business improvement district approval is also required.

The neighborhood group associated with the business’ location would create conditions for the business to have the consumption area. It only takes 4,726 petition signatures to qualify a measure for the ballot. The Neighborhood Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program collected 10,800 signatures.

So far, 50 businesses have signed up for the program. The program hopes to include 500 businesses.

Denver Relief Consulting representative Kayvan Khalatbari said, “It’s going to be an effort of these businesses and a lot of the cannabis industry. We already have some of the bigger names of the cannabis industry giving customers leaflets about the initiative. We’re really looking forward to engaging every single stakeholder – pro, con or neutral on this.”

Those currently owning marijuana businesses would be excluded from having a social use space due to conflicts in licensing restrictions. The pilot period is set to be 4 years. In 2020, the City Council will either abolish the pilot program, extend it, or make it permanent. Supporters of social use, like Kayvan Khalatbari, hope that the businesses that do partake in the program display that marijuana can be used responsibly in social settings.