While Cannabition organizers J.J. Walker and Matt Brown had originally planned to host their New Year's Day event at City Hall -- no, not the City and County Building, but the Regas Christou-owned venue on Broadway -- they had to move it to NORAD, at 821 22nd Street, after Christou said he wouldn't allow the event to go on at his club. Which has some Denver officials breathing a sigh of relief -- they were imagining TV cameras hyping a smoke-in at "City Hall" to the world -- but others wondering whether they'll be able to breathe in pot at any parties in this city.
Walker and Brown, who also run My 420 Tours, started planning for Cannabition about a month ago after realizing that no one, with the exception of the Amendment 64 campaign, was really celebrating January 1, the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales in Colorado.
"Our whole goal for this event is to show off that responsible adults that are not just protesting can have a private event that doesn't bother the 85 percent of the adult population that doesn't smoke pot," Brown says. "At the same time, it allows us to celebrate what is a really huge deal on January 1."
"Let's make sure that it's legal," Waker adds, "and let's make sure that it's not one of these underground pot parties. And so we wanted to go to a very mainstream venue, which was initially City Hall, and they were initially on board with it. They want to do these events but they also want to make sure that they're in full compliance of the law. So we went though the whole process... got everything almost launched and at the end of the day, when we couldn't full clarity on like, 'This is exactly what it is or isn't,' City Hall wasn't quite comfortable with it yet. That being said, we're still 100 percent comfortable with the rules, laws and regulations that are currently on the books that what we're doing is 100 percent legal."
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While the main floor of NORAD will be open the public, the second floor of the dance club will be the private, invitation-only, 21-plus Cannabition event. Walker says people can get invitations by visiting the Cannabition website and requesting invites from one of the event's sponsors, and then they'll get e-mailed a code that they enter on the Cannabition website, which will open up the possibility of buying the $5 ticket.
"We were trying, for the last two and half weeks, to get some definition from the city as far as, like, what is a private event, and are there any rules and regulations as far as what a cannabis event can or cannot be," Walker says.
"I think in the end we realized that certainly there are no laws that really directly define a private event," Brown concludes. "There's no checklist to follow to say, 'You can do this and this and this but you can't do that.' I think, and rightly so, given [Christou's] history with the city on other issues they were just being nervous about being first and being public and going forward when there is no definition -- particularly on January 1 when everybody's fears might be a little more heightened." Have a tip? Send it to email@example.com.
From our marijuana archives: "Marijuana tour company touts 4/20 in Colorado."