neighborhood-approved consumption spaces will submit a petition to city officials on Friday with more than twice the number of voter signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot.
Denver’s Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Committee collected more than 10,800 total signatures in less than 30 days. Election officials have 25 days to confirm the petition includes at least 4,726 valid signatures of Denver voters.
“We have seen an overwhelming show of support for this initiative among Denver residents,” said Kayvan S.T. Khalatbari, the lead proponent of the initiative. ”They are excited about the possibility of providing adults with safe and regulated spaces in which they can consume cannabis in accordance with the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act.
“This initiative will ensure visitors have a place to legally consume cannabis,” Khalatbari said. “It will also benefit many residents currently living in properties where HOAs or landlords disallow cannabis consumption.”
The initiative would establish the City of Denver Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program, which would create safe, supervised consumption spaces so that adult cannabis consumers can have access to traditional social environments without being segregated from mainstream society. In summary:
- A business or individual would apply for a permit to allow cannabis consumption in a designated area on their property, which would be limited to adults 21 and older and subject to regulations enforced by the Department of Excise and Licenses and law enforcement, fire, and health officials.
- These spaces must comply with the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act and prevent exposure to secondhand smoke; cannot be within 1000 feet of a school; and cannot be visible from a public right-of-way or anywhere children congregate.
- Consumption area staff must complete training; refrain from consuming any intoxicants in the workplace; strictly observe safety and security measures; and follow protocols for preventing public intoxication, problematic behavior, and underage use, similar to establishments that allow alcohol consumption.
- The City Council will create a task force to study and report on the impact of the ordinance, and the ordinance will expire on December 31, 2020 if the city has not approved comprehensive cannabis consumption regulations prior to that date.
More than 30 Denver businesses expressed formal support for the initiative within the first 30 days of the campaign, including coffee shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, and proponents plan to continue securing endorsements from area businesses. The campaign will also be reaching out to all Denver registered neighborhood organizations and business improvement districts in an effort to ensure all stakeholders have a voice in the process.
“Many adults choose to consume cannabis as a safer alternative to alcohol, and they need — and, frankly, deserve — social venues in which they can enjoy it,” said Khalatbari. ”We believe that engaging Denver’s neighborhoods and business community under a pilot program is the best way to find responsible solutions to this matter of significant public interest. We must work together if we are going to resolve this conundrum.”