"So the industry began and honestly we didn't pay a whole hell of a lot, heck of a lot of attention to it until New Year’s Eve of this year," explained Commander James Henning with the Denver Police Department.
Henning addressed the city's Social Consumption Area Task Force Thursday morning. The task force is charged with studying the impact of permits that allow marijuana to be consumed in a public setting. Only one permit has been awarded since Denver voters approved the initiative in 2016 and the city started taking applications last year.
"At one point they cut to a reporter and she was on one of these buses in Denver. And, you know, she’s talking about how wonderful it is that people are consuming marijuana and you can see in the background people consuming marijuana in a vehicle," said Henning.
The reporter was riding with Colorado Cannabis Tours, one of the companies that police targeted during an enforcement operation in June. Thirty-one people were cited after police pulled over two tour buses.
Police cited 16 people on Colorado Cannabis Tours and 19 people on My 420 Tours, including the driver.
"Tell the city we're going to sue them," Michael Eymer, the founder of Colorado Cannabis Tours, said at Thursday's meeting.
Eymer attended the task force meeting in hopes of answering questions about the business that he's been operating for five years.
"So for them to allow a business owner to enter this market, expand a company for years and years and years get tons and tons of notoriety and then crack down is really just, in my opinion, shameful," said Emyer.
One of the task force members tried to ask a question about the tour bus enforcement but she was told the issue was not being discussed.
"The city has decided that they weren’t operating legally and I don’t know much more beyond that," said Councilwoman Kendra Black.
Councilwoman Black is the chair of the task force that is trying to determine if the rules of the initiative regarding social consumption needs to be changed. She said something isn't working if only one business has opened since it went into effect.
"That is a problem. Tourists come here—we hear it from the hotels there’s no place for them to go," said Black.
The task force will deliver recommendations and a report to council in November. It does not plan to address the issues surround cannabis tour buses.