Denver Social Marijuana Use Ordinance 300 Too Close To Call


Update: At this writing, the Denver’s elections division has not yet called the race involving Initiated Ordinance 300, formerly known as the Neighborhood Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program.

The latest count shows 300 leading with 100,284 votes, or 50.86 percent, to 96,893 votes, or 49.14 percent. But according to 300 proponent Kayvan Khalatbari, "There are still too many votes outstanding" for the agency to declare a win or a loss.

"We spoke with Denver Elections last night," Khalatbari notes. "The last announcement was at 1 a.m., and after that, the employees went home and were going to come back and finish counting. So I’m guessing we’ll hear something in the next few hours."

When asked if he’s optimistic about passage, Khalatbari says, "I think there’s something to be said for later voters being a little more progressive, so we feel good about that – and about being up by a small margin. We knew it wasn’t going to be a dramatic win, knew it wasn’t going to be up in the 60s, and we were concerned about the level of education we could get out there in such a short period of time. It was a very short campaign. That we’re where we are right now is a testament to how many people we helped educate. I think we had the fewest number of abstentions of almost anything on the ballot."

He adds, "People are passionate about this topic, and I’m happy to take part in the conversation of how we implement this. So I’m hopeful that it’s going to pass today."

Continue for our previous coverage.

Update, 5:11 a.m. September 2: Only days after the Denver NORML-sponsored Denver Responsible Use Initiative fell short of qualifying for the November ballot, the Denver Elections Division announced that the Neighborhood Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program has passed muster.

Denver voters will now have a chance to weigh in about the proposal, which will allow marijuana use in social settings – specifically selected bars and restaurants in the Mile High City, as outlined in our previous coverage below.

A Facebook post by Kayvan Khalatbari, the program’s most prominent proponent, was just as simple, yet considerably more exuberant. Under the photo shared at the top of this post, Khalatbari wrote, "We’re on the ballot, baby! Denver’s Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Social Use Campaign making moves, making history."

As we’ve reported, the measure required 4,726 valid signatures for ballot qualification, and Khalatbari and company submitted more than double that amount: approximately 10,800.

Denver NORML has not yet responded publicly to the pilot program achieving its latest threshold. Previously, the organization questioned the wisdom of allowing cannabis consumption at venues where alcohol is served; its own approach called for cannabis-only settings. But after the Denver Responsible Use Initiative didn’t receive the Denver Elections Division’s blessing, its author, attorney Judd Golden, noted that "the consistent position of NORML is that any expansion of places for people to legally consume this legal product is a good thing." At the same time, however, he acknowledged "practical and legal issues about how they want to do it. The bar thing has been quite an object of contention."

Here’s the language that will appear on the ballot regarding the Neighborhood Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program:

Shall the voters of the City and County of Denver adopt an ordinance that creates a cannabis consumption pilot program where: the City and County of Denver (the “City”) may permit a business or a person with evidence of support of an eligible neighborhood association or business improvement district to allow the consumption of marijuana (“cannabis”) in a designated consumption area; such associations or districts may set forth conditions on the operation of a designated consumption area, including permitting or restricting concurrent uses, consumptions, or services offered, if any; the designated consumption area is limited to those over the age of twenty-one, must comply with the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, may overlap with any other type of business or licensed premise, and cannot be located within 1000 feet of a school; a designated consumption area that is located outside cannot be visible from a public right-of-way or a place where children congregate; the City shall create a task force to study the impacts of cannabis consumption permits on the city; the City may enact additional regulations and ordinances to further regulate designated consumption areas that are not in conflict with this ordinance; and the cannabis consumption pilot program expires on December 31, 2020 or earlier if the City passes comprehensive regulations governing cannabis consumption?

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Full Article: Denver Social Marijuana Use Ordinance 300 Too Close To Call
Author: Michael Roberts
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