Social Pot Use Initiative Backers Collect Double the Signatures Needed for Ballot

Grassroots Colorado, one of the clubs shut down by Denver police on 4/20 weekend. Additional images below.
Grassroots Colorado, one of the clubs shut down by Denver police on 4/20 weekend. Additional images below.
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Back in June, we told you about the Limited Social Marijuana Consumption Initiative.

Mason Tvert, who has combined forces with fellow Amendment 64 proponent Brian Vicente to push the proposal, described it at the time as "a narrow exemption to Denver's current ban for social marijuana consumption by adults. It simply gives private businesses the ability to allow adult marijuana consumption in areas that are only accessible to people 21 and older, as long as it's not viewable to the public. It would require signage in that area, for example."

A short time later, Denver officials approved the initiative's final language, which we've included below, along with the complete initiative.

Now, Tvert is scheduled to appear at a press event this afternoon to announce that 10,000-plus people have signed a petition asking that the measure be placed on the November ballot — more than double the 4,726 signatures required.

Here's the approved ballot language:

Shall the voters of the City and County of Denver adopt a measure permitting the consumption of marijuana by individuals twenty-one years of age or older at certain premises that are not private residential property, provided that individuals under the age of twenty-one are prohibited from entering any space where the consumption of marijuana is allowed, the owner, operator, or individual in control of the premises has authorized the consumption of marijuana, and the individual consuming marijuana neither smokes marijuana indoors in violation of Colorado's Clean Indoor Air Act nor consumes marijuana in a location where the consumption is visible from a nearby public place; permitting the operation of business and commerce involving the consumption of marijuana; permitting the Denver City Council to adopt ordinances that regulate signage, marketing, and advertising for any business that permits the consumption of marijuana; permitting the Denver City Council to regulate the hours of operation and create distance restrictions for any business that permits the consumption of marijuana that does not also hold a license to sell alcohol for onsite consumption; declaring it unlawful to permit marijuana consumption at a premises that is not private residential property unless certain conditions are met; immunizing businesses and property owners from certain licensing sanctions and public nuisance enforcement actions related to the consumption of marijuana, provided the consumption is in accordance with applicable ordinances; and clarifying that owners and residents of adjacent properties may bring private nuisance actions against any business that permits marijuana consumption and that the City of Denver may enforce air quality standards against these businesses?

Mason Tvert.
Mason Tvert.
YouTube file photo

As you can see, smoking will not be allowed under the measure. Instead, Tvert imagines that the vast majority of customers will use vaporizers. Moreover, the language pertaining to regulation is intended to reassure officials that they'll be able to maintain the sort of control over these establishments as they exercise at places serving alcohol.

In conversation this morning, Tvert stressed that "we found a whole lot of support out there among Denver voters for providing adults with areas in which marijuana can be consumed socially.

"People recognize that marijuana is now a legal product for adults and that we need to have places where it can be used legally," he continued. "By letting adults use marijuana in private establishments, we can reduce the likelihood that they're going to use it in public places, like on the streets or in parks. Voters seem to be very interested in the idea and we hope they're going to have the opportunity to consider it."

Tvert adds that entrepreneurs are already positioning themselves to provide such services should the proposal be approved.

"We've spoken to a number of business owners throughout the city who either have an interest in taking advantage of this opportunity now or possibly with future business endeavors," he allowed. "Some would be interested in it for their current business and some would be interested in pursuing another related business.

Marijuana clubs such as iBake Denver exist in some areas outside Denver city limits, but not within them.
Marijuana clubs such as iBake Denver exist in some areas outside Denver city limits, but not within them.
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"And this isn't just about bars and concert venues," he went on. "It's about art galleries and other types of small businesses that might choose to hold events where adults could consume cannabis. For example, if there's a shop that allows people to paint or do pottery while consuming marijuana, or if there's an art gallery that wants to hold an event or rent itself out for an event, they would be able to take advantage of this."

He uses as examples Colorado Symphony Orchestra events staged last year.

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According to Tvert, "we're confident that we have enough signatures based on how many were collected, and we expect to qualify for this November's ballot."

The City of Denver has 25 days to inform organizers if the number of verified signatures is sufficient once they're submitted — and that will take place today. Tvert, Vicente and supporters will appear at a press conference at 2:15 p.m. at the Denver City-County Building, 1437 Bannock Street, before delivering the petition to the Denver Elections Division, 200 West 14th Avenue.

Here's the complete text of the Limited Social Marijuana Consumption Initiative.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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