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Social Cannabis Use Makes the Ballot in Denver

September 2, 2016
Social consumption of cannabis could be coming to the Mile High City. Yesterday the Denver Elections Division approved the signatures for a proposed initiative that would allow social use in some city businesses.

In November, Denver voters will decide whether restaurants, bars, night clubs, and even yoga studios and massage parlors will be able to create indoor or outdoor consumption areas for bring-your-own cannabis products. Initiative advocate Kayvan Khalatbari, of Denver Relief Consulting, told Leafly the proposal would require that an applicant for an annual or temporary permit receive backing from a neighborhood group, such as a city-registered neighborhood organization or business improvement district.

According to The Cannabist, that provision would give the neighborhood group the ability to suggest operating conditions and limitations.

On Monday, the Elections Division said another social-use initiative, sponsored by Denver NORML, failed to submit enough valid signatures to make the ballot. That should help the Social Use 2016 initiative at the polls.

“I think our ability to get our messaging across without creating voter confusion is going to be a lot easier than it was before,” with two competing initiatives, Khalatbari said. “Our polling last year started off really great, and I think we just lacked time to educate the public properly. But now we have the time and the resources, and the collaboration with the coalition around us to get that done.”

“My next goal is to really push dialogue with the city, the mayor’s office and the city council. Apparently they are coming out with some statements on their positioning, and I am hoping that it’s neutral at the very least.”

According to Khalatbari, the city officials have indicated that they understand the need for social consumption venues, but he isn’t holding his breath for any support from city hall.

Khalatbari said that around 50 local businesses have come out so far in support of the initiative. “And I haven’t really reached out to any businesses yet,” he said. “My intention is to have about 500 come ballot time.”

A full list of these businesses along with more information regarding the initiative can be found at