Denver Seeks to Allow Marijuana in Bars and Restaurants

After a year and a half of retail pot sales in Colorado, activists have decided to take the concept of legal weed to the next level by campaigning to allow social pot consumption in businesses where booze is served.

Organizers behind the 2012 passing of Amendment 64 are hoping to get a new initiative on the ballot in Denver’s election this November that would allow voters to decide whether people should be permitted to smoke weed in specific commercial dwellings, such as bars and restaurants

The concept behind the measure, entitled “The Limited Social Marijuana Consumption Initiative,” is to give bars and restaurants the freedom to use a portion of their establishment for cannabis consumption. It is their belief that since bars and clubs allow patrons to consume alcohol, they should also permit the use of the state’s newly legal inebriant for recreational tokers.

“We’re proposing a narrow exemption to Denver’s current ban on social cannabis use by adults,” Mason Tvert, communications director with the Marijuana Policy Project and one of the sponsors of the proposal, told the Denver Post. “It would simply allow adults 21 and older to consume marijuana in designated areas and venues where only adults are allowed. This is allowing adults to have the option to use marijuana in certain venues that choose to allow it.”

Essentially, instead of continuing to segregate the two substances, the initiative would allow businesses that already serve booze to designate indoor and outdoor spaces that would allow individuals to partake away from the public eye. And since there is a statewide smoking ban in place, those businesses that opt to allow cannabis consumption would have the responsibility of remaining in compliance with the law.

Tvert and his crony, activist Brian Vicente, the second pen in the initiative, believe their plan offers a better solution than the ideas offered up by lawmakers involving private cannabis clubs. It can sometimes be difficult to locate authorized areas to use cannabis, especially for tourists, they said.

However, opposing forces are skeptical about heading down the path to public consumption.

Earlier this week, Gina Carbone, a spokesperson with SMART Colorado, the group that attempted to sabotage Amendment 64, said that she was concerned about the implications the group’s latest initiative would have on the community.

“The thoughts of it being used in restaurants and bars in places where kids can see this, it’s very disturbing,” said Carbone.

Nevertheless, supporters are certain the initiative will gain the support of the public.

“We’re confident that voters will agree that adults should be able to use marijuana socially in private venues when around other adults,” said Tvert.

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