How Denver will make social marijuana use work

Posted at 9:46 PM, Dec 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-06 00:24:07-05

DENVER -- Since Denver voters approved an initiative for marijuana clubs, the city has been trying to figure out how to make the first-of-its-kind measure work.

In a committee meeting Monday, city attorneys and licensing officials discussed the legal issues of social pot use, especially when it comes to state law banning open and public consumption.

"We are going to take the same approach we took with Amendment 64, a thoughtful and measured approach so that we get it right," said Ashley Kilroy, the executive director of Denver's Excise and Licensing.

Kilroy is planning to form a Social Consumption Advisory committee, made up of key stakeholders to help make the rules -- a process that is expected to take several months.

As required by Initiative 300, the city will issue permit applications to interested businesses by Jan. 21, but they don't plan to accept them until the rulemaking process is complete.

"Because we didn't think it would be fair for somebody to fill out an application, give us their money and us sit on it for six months and say, 'Oh! You didn't qualify. Our rules are different,'" said Kilroy.

Proponents for social use said they expected a slow roll-out, but the six-month timeline was longer than anticipated.

"Would I prefer it to be a little quicker? Certainly," said Kayvan Khalatbari, a lead proponent of Initiative 300 and co-founder of Denver Relief Consulting. "But we want to make sure that this gets done right and if that takes time, then so be it."

Proponents say the public will likely see special events to begin with, such as a monthly marijuana-focused event at Mutiny Information Cafe on South Broadway.

"So what we planned is like a dance party, comedians, just kind of a good time," said Jim Norris, the co-owner of the Cafe. "It's a chance to change Denver and make Denver into something really cool -- more cool."

Norris plans to apply for a permit as soon as they become available.

"We could have a huge culture that's outside of alcohol," said Norris. "We're just really excited about the opportunity to help craft a unique culture that's never existed before in the history of the world."


Sign up for Denver7 email alerts to stay informed about breaking news and daily headlines.

Or, keep up-to-date by following Denver7 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.