Denver Social Smoking Initiative Aims to Bring Toke Friendly Zones to Local Establishments
Even though recreational use of cannabis is legal in Colorado, it’s still illegal to consume in public.
Published on September 23, 2016

Two years ago, the people of Colorado decided to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, which has lead to an unprecedented economic boom in the state, as well as a new-age tourism industry. Still, there is a major lack of safe spaces for both residents and tourists to consume this legally obtained cannabis, which is putting legal users in danger of getting ticketed, and putting non-users and minors at risk of unwarranted encounters with cannabis. 

This upcoming election, the Denver Ballot initiative 300 will aim to provide a safe and supervised space for adults to consume cannabis in traditional and public social environments. The initiative is a part of Denver’s Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program, and recently received critical support from the Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA), which recently released a statement detailing their reason for saying “Yes on 300”. 

“When Colorado residents overwhelmingly approved Amendment 64, they voted to have Cannabis regulated like alcohol. Now that recreational Cannabis has been legal for two years, Denver Ballot Initiative 300 appropriately addresses the enormous need to provide safe spaces for consumers--both residents and tourists--to enjoy Cannabis outside of the home,” said Cannabis Business Alliance Executive Director Mark Slaugh. “The need for safe, Cannabis-friendly spaces is clear. The CBA joins Denver voters, businesses, and public figures in supporting Denver Ballot Initiative 300.”

Currently, public consumption of cannabis is illegal, which means that users can only lawfully use it within a private residence with owner approval. This has had a negative impact on tourists and renters who are essentially forced to consume cannabis in public, which could lead to ticketing and exposure to those who are minors or don’t wish to be in a cannabis environment. Thus, to make cannabis consumption safer for both users and non-users, the Denver Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program is calling on business and members of the community to come together and create well-regulated public consumption spaces that are in accordance with the Colorado Clean Indoor Act. 

This is a vital measure for both the state of Colorado and the country in general. Many cannabis users in legal states currently rely on underground smoking clubs to consume, which city officials in Colorado have recently been cracking down on. The same goes for California, which has seen a budding underground cannabis movement in light of having no safe public space to consume. 

Ultimately, if Colorado plans to continue banking off of their profitable cannabis market and growing tourism industry, it would be wise to give people, both residents and visitors, a safe place to consumer their legal cannabis in public. 

Tyler Koslow
Tyler Koslow is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer with an intensive focus on technology, music, pop culture, and of course, cannabis and its impending legalization.
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