City officials in Denver, Colorado finalized regulations for a voter approved measure to bring Amsterdam-style cannabis cafes to the Mile High City on Friday, and some cannabis advocates are hopeful that the city’s first stoner-friendly space will open within the next six months.
According to Denver’s local NBC News affiliate, the new rules include stipulations that ban recreational cannabis consumption lounges and cafes from setting up shop within 1000 feet of schools, day care centers or drug treatment facilities. Like the city’s bars and restaurants with liquor licenses, the cannabis cafes will be overseen and monitored by city officials.
For advocates of the social use measure, the finalized regulations mark yet another step in the normalization and success of the state’s thriving legal cannabis industry.
"I really am excited to think about coffee shops and art venues, places where I can go with my friends to use cannabis responsibly," said Emmett Reistroffer, campaign director for Initiative 300, the social use measure that Denver voters passed in 2016. "Our goal from the beginning was to protect the rights of both cannabis consumers and non-consumers so we all can enjoy Denver."
Denver will start accepting license applications for on-site consumption next month, but that doesn’t mean that every corner cafe, concert venue and art gallery will be putting out the ashtrays this year.
"There's still a lot of fear dominating this discussion and it's going to be very difficult for businesses to begin getting these permits," Reistroffer said.
For opponents of the social use regulations, the school and day care rules aren’t strict enough, with some calling for a buffer zone keeping cannabis cafes entirely separate from the city’s residential areas.
Once open, Denver’s public cannabis lounges will be the first of their kind in the country, bringing a whole new sector to America’s burgeoning cannabis industry.