Less than a month ago, the proponents of the Limited Social Marijuana Consumption Initiative announced that they had collected more than twice as many signatures needed to place the measure on this November's ballot.
Given this achievement, and the success of backers such as Mason Tvert and Brian Vicente, who were key players in the passage of Amendment 64, odds looked good that the initiative would be approved by voters.
Now, however, they won't get the chance thanks to a deal between the measure's creators and various government and business officials that will be formally announced at a press conference this afternoon.
A release from Tvert describes the unexpected reversal like so: "Proponents of a Denver city initiative to allow limited social marijuana consumption in commercial establishments will announce at a news conference Thursday that they intend to withdraw the measure prior to it being certified for the November ballot. The event will take place at 2:30 p.m. MT in front of the Denver City-County Building."
Why make such a move, particularly since the initiative seemed so likely to earn the blessing of most Denver voters? According to the release, "city and business leaders agreed to work with initiative backers to develop a social cannabis consumption law that reflects the interests and concerns of all stakeholders."
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Our interpretation: Both city and business leaders knew the measure was going to pass — so, in an effort to have more input into the matter, they floated a compromise.
And the "they" in this case includes some heavy hitters. Specifically cited are Denver City Attorney Scott Martinez, Executive Director of Marijuana Policy Ashley Kilroy, plus reps from the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association/Metro Denver Lodging Association and the Colorado Restaurant Association, whose joint statement reads:
"We appreciate the willingness of the proponents of the Limited Social Cannabis Use initiative to withdraw their measure so we have the opportunity to work collaboratively on this matter. Our respective industries are committed to working with the proponents and the city to find a solution that reflects the interests and concerns of all stakeholders. We look forward to future conversations.”
Also mentioned are members of the Denver City Council, including Albus Brooks, who released a statement of his own “This decision ensures we now have the time and ability to include interested stakeholders to reach consensus on this important issue. I am committed to working on a broadly acceptable solution.”
The initiative backers weighed in, too. Their statement reads: "After a challenging five-week signature gathering process, we are not approaching the withdrawal of this initiative lightly. We believe in the language we put forward and that adults who consume cannabis deserve the same freedoms to congregate and socialize as those who consume alcohol. We were persuaded, however, by members of the political and business communities, who requested participation in this process. We look forward to working with them to find a solution amenable to all parties. If we reach a stalemate, and we hope we won’t, we will have the option of placing a new measure on the ballot in 2016, when the electorate will be more favorable for our cause.”
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Look below to see the full text of the Limited Social Marijuana Consumption Initiative.