Social marijuana is coming to Denver bars, restaurants and cafés. In a move that is expected to boost a tourism industry that saw visitors spend a record $19.1 billion last year, Denver residents voted to pass Initiative 300. Approved businesses can now apply for permits to allow marijuana consumption on their premises. So, the next time you’re in Denver and you want to get high or need a dose of CBD weed, you may be just a block away from a business where you can consume marijuana comfortably and legally.
A few localities have previously allowed cannabis clubs where individuals can apply for one-day memberships. With 53.4 percent of voters supporting the measure in last month’s voting, Initiative 300 will effectively extend the social marijuana allowance to the rest of the city, giving restaurants, bars, cafes and other businesses with the appropriate permits and licenses the option to allow marijuana consumption on their premises.
How Will Social Marijuana Work?
While the passing of Initiative 300 is exciting news, Colorado state laws are still in effect, and this isn’t a free pass to get high in public smoke inside restaurants. There are a variety of state laws that both businesses and consumers must consider. Initiative 300 calls for the creation of a four-year program that would allow businesses from bars to yoga studios to seek permits and approval to create bring-your-own-marijuana consumption areas.
One of the more unique aspects of Initiative 300 is the requirement that businesses obtain the approval of a city-registered neighborhood organization or Business Improvement District if they wish to create a marijuana consumption area. This would allow the approving organization to help set operating conditions, which may help address concerns about public consumption and/or instances of impaired driving.
Where Will You Be Able to Smoke?
The process for obtaining an annual or temporary permit has yet to be finalized, but we can expect certain caveats based on current state laws and practices. Businesses will need to be over-21 or offer over-21 areas for consumption. The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act is still in effect, and smoking indoors is prohibited in many locations. As a result, many 420 friendly bars, restaurants and cafés may only be able to offer a space for vaping or consuming edibles. Traditional smokers will need to find a location with a patio or other appropriate outdoor space.
With debate still rolling about the legality of Initiative 300 and how businesses can adhere to local and state laws, it may be that only a handful of businesses seek permits in the coming months. But, as we saw with the increase in dispensaries in Denver, the increase is coming. Now it is simply a matter of when more businesses will begin offering marijuana consumption areas.
The Pros & Cons of Social Weed
Opponents of Initiative 300 argue it will lead to an increase in public consumption and impaired driving. This is also a priority for law enforcement looking to regulate the new policy and keep the city safe and clean. Those in favor of the measure point to the need for a space where individuals can go and suggest it will help reduce instances of public consumption. Many neighborhoods and communities have seen an increase in public smoking since marijuana was legalized, and the hope is that Initiative 300 will keep marijuana consumption to approved locations.
Many small businesses can carve a new niche, offering an atmosphere their competitors may not wish to encourage. Even business owners who don’t plan on offering marijuana consumption areas can find reasons to be excited about the measure. Hotels and landlords may see fewer instances of smoking in non-smoking residences when there is a marijuana bar or café down the street. Instead of going home or leaving the city to smoke, residents and marijuana tourists can take another hit while they’re out, which keeps them in the city – shopping, seeing shows and spending money. And, recreational dispensaries can finally give customers the advice they so often need: “Where can I smoke?”
Dude, Where’s the Bar?
Initiative 300 was just the first step in allowing social marijuana use in Denver. There are a number of details that still need to be worked out before we know how the initiative will affect social marijuana legislation at the state level and here in Boulder. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate that some bars, restaurants and businesses in Denver may soon offer legal marijuana consumption areas. So, the next time you head into Denver, go ahead and bring your weed with you. You may find yourself at a business that allows marijuana consumption.
If you need to restock before you head out, stop by Karing Kind, Boulder’s first recreational marijuana dispensary and shop our incredible selection of clean-grown bud, pure extracts, mouth-watering edibles and hard-to-find strains. We’re proud to offer the state’s lowest marijuana tax rate, and our award-winning budtenders can help you find the right product at the right price.
Karing Kind is located just off of US-36, one mile north of Broadway, open daily from 9am to 10pm.
While we carry a variety of strains, concentrates, edibles, salves and tinctures, inventory and stock levels fluctuate from week to week and month to month. Check our menu and follow us on Twitter for an up-to-date list of edibles, concentrates and buds available now.