How Denver’s Bars, Restaurants Could Soon Allow Patrons to Use Marijuana

Marijuana

Sometime in the near future, Denver entrepreneurs could be able to open up their 21-and-up business and patio spaces to marijuana users

According to the St. George Spectrum, activists recently launched a campaign to seek Denver voters’ opinions on allowing the consumption of marijuana in bars and other 21-and-over places.

If successful, the Denver Campaign for Limited Social Cannabis Use would allow Denver citizens to vote to allow “limited social marijuana consumption” at bars. In order to put the question on the city’s voting ballot this November, the petition will need 5,000 or more signatures.

While recreational pot use is legal in Colorado, it’s still prohibited to consume marijuana “openly and publicly or in a manner that endangers others.” The state law doesn’t, however, prohibit consumption in private bars and similar spaces; the Denver petition seeks to clarify what constitutes a private club.

If successful, customers at bars, art galleries, restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses would be able to eat cannabis-infused edibles or vaporize inside specified 21-and-over spaces. Outdoor marijuana smoking would follow the same rules as cigarette smoking, although it would have to be shielded from public view. When approximately 43% of diners and bar patrons aged of 25 and 34 will spend more on drinks at outdoor bars, allowing pot at outdoor bar patios would be one way to keep customers happy.

Early polls show a good number of voters support the initiative, The Cannabist reported — however, opinions among the business owners themselves are widely mixed.

“We will be adamantly opposed to it,” Sonia Riggs, CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association, said. The CRA is a prominent industry group that works with 4,500 businesses — approximately half of Colorado’s restaurants.

Luckily, the Denver Campaign for Limited Social Cannabis Use’s proposed ruling would allow bars and restaurants to choose whether or not to allow marijuana use on their property.

“The law allows establishments to choose if they want to allow it or not,” said the Marijuana Policy Project’s Mason Tvert, one of the leaders in the Denver Campaign for Limited Social Cannabis Use. “They don’t have to allow it, so it’s a silly argument.”

Nor would Denver’s decision to allow limited marijuana use at bars make it the first to do so. The Spectrum reported that Pueblo and Nederland have both passed statutes allowing pot’s limited on-site consumption at over-21 clubs, and Colorado Springs has a number of clubs that allow patrons to consume marijuana in limited quantities.

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