Colorado is possibly the most visual of the states to legalize marijuana — having put the first recreational framework in action as well as continue efforts to evolve with new information. As the amendment behind the recreational market in Colorado specifies, consumers are forced to imbibe their cannabinoids in a place that is neither public nor open. Woefully short on places to consume — particularly in the face of the population growth Colorado is experiencing — Denver voters successfully passed a ballot measure in late 2016 that would change the current standing of pot clubs in the city: Say hello to Ordinance 300.
Passing with just over 52% of the vote, Denver became the first city in Colorado to openly, democratically design the logical next step to the state’s recreational marijuana industry. Not that options do not already exist. They do; however, they are limited and seem to function in a largely unregulated and donation membership-based business structure.
We all know people need a place to consume. While the regulation of marijuana in Colorado is changing each year, many of these pot clubs maintain a current standing that is the equivalent of perpetual anxiety, unsure if they will be able to continue operations, knowing the state can come in and shut them down at any time. In Colorado Springs, for instance, the city sent out cease-and-desist letters to nine pot clubs following a city council ruling in March of 2016 that banned the operation of marijuana clubs in the city. Similarly, Englewood, a city that rubs shoulders with Denver, moved in 2016 to ban pot clubs, possibly displacing iBake Englewood.
With all that in mind, let’s check out what Denver voters said yes to and what kind of changes are coming to Denver businesses under Ordinance 300.
Ordinance 300 is a pilot program
While pot clubs have a current standing seen as somewhat murky in the eyes of Colorado lawmakers and policy officials, Ordinance 300 was designed to generate information on a limited scale to judge the impact and value of permitting public consumption. In this way, Ordinance 300 has been set with an expiration date of 31 December 2020 (unless the City, state, or federal regulatory bodies change regulations in a drastic way).
As a primary function of Ordinance 300 is to generate data on how social cannabis use impacts communities, it was important to make sure that the businesses that gain permits to provide a smoke dojo to cannabis users first gain the approval of the neighborhood in which they wish to operate. The business must get first a recognized neighborhood organization to basically sponsor the permit. This can be documented in a number of ways, the most direct being enticing a neighborhood organization to say they are not opposed.
Ordinance 300 does not legalize public consumption
True, it is meant to bring pot clubs from their current standing — that is, allowed but also banned — and a key part of Ordinance 300 is public consumption, but this has limits. It doesn’t mean you can smoke anywhere; that’s still legally tantamount to an open container or being drunk in public ticket. As a side note, all businesses that apply for these permits — after getting neighborhood support — must do three things to mitigate (a) the smell (b) impact on children (c) sales or distribution of marijuana products:
- No business within 1000 feet of a school will be permitted to allow public consumption
- All businesses that apply for a permit must, in addition to gaining support of the community, maintain the regulations of The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act of 2006
- Any business permitted to allow cannabis consumption must have an odor control plan in place
Ordinance 300 does not change where you can buy cannabis
In Colorado, it is against the law for sales and consumption to occur on the same property and Ordinance 300 doesn’t change that — it only expands where you may consume legally. I mean I avoid bars because I dislike paying $12 dollars for a cocktail but I do like to socialize; is it really a problem that you have to supply yourself?
Days after the final ballots were tallied; as a cheer for the world of cannabis legalization roared over close to sweeping victories across the nation, the regulatory vultures circled and placed some road blocks preventing businesses from being able to both serve alcohol and allow cannabis consumption. While pot clubs have a current standing reflecting of none of the late-night aggression that comes after bar close, it seems like regulators wanted to make sure these things remain separate, at least until we have more information — including an understanding of what sort of insurance a business should have.
Here at Leafbuyer, we want to bring you the best deals that dispensaries offer. With Ordinance 300 looming, pot clubs have a current standing that may be poised to change in major ways in the Denver area. That’s why we are constantly updating our deals and expanding the savings we send your way, because you deserve to smoke a gold blunt and do yoga; because you deserve to melt infused peanut butter pretzel white chocolate onto your local diner waffles; and because cannabis and coffee are a natural powerhouse and you deserve to be able to add CBD oil to it.
I wouldn’t be surprised if pot clubs current standing in colorado to continue to be propelled forwards, despite the regulatory removal of bars from the types of business permitted to allow cannabis consumption. I, myself, love the concept of being able to sit in a cafe and vaporize while studying or researching, sipping coffee before going to eat some edibles at the yoga studio. It just feels free, new, and exciting — is that what liberty is? Could you imagine a consumption Church?
Even Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has begun to see pot clubs or public consumption facilities as a necessary point of research in making sure Denver does the best job it can at limiting illegal public consumption — a point which flies in the face of his callous remarks following the passage of Amendment 64. While Mayor Hancock may not support the idea of anything but strong regulation when it comes to Cannabis, he acknowledges that anyone who doesn’t live in Colorado is less than happy about having nowhere to legally use the substance that is illegal in many places anyway.
The question remains: how much space is enough? Will it curb public consumption or become a life of its own?
By Joey Wells