Here's what public pot use looks like after the passing of Initiative 300

Posted at 3:32 PM, Jan 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-19 17:32:08-05

DENVER -- A Denver committee held the first meeting of its kind to discuss what public pot use will look like after voters passed the "social use" initiative last November.

The Social Consumption Advisory Committee includes residents, regulators and marijuana opponents and is charged with making recommendations on the implementation and regulation of public marijuana use.

“It’s something that is cutting edge, just like Denver has been on the cutting edge of marijuana regulation before,” said Molly Duplechian, the deputy director of the Office of Marijuana Policy. “I think it was really great that there did seem to be some consensus on the committee about keeping it away from children, keeping it out of sight of children and having some distance from childcare facilities and schools.”

Initiative 300 allows businesses to seek permits for bring-your-own marijuana in designated consumption areas. It does not allow permit holders to sell marijuana. Businesses may request licenses starting Friday.

"We will have customers leaving impaired and what are we going to do about that?" asked Rachel O’Bryan, who was opposed to social use and is on thDee committee. "I think we should have some liability on the books at the city level because the state hasn't acted, so we are dangling out here and the public is at risk "

She pointed out that bars can be held liable if someone drinks too much and injures someone as a results. But unlike bars, permit holders won’t serve marijuana.

"When product is potentially sold in one place and then consumed in another, it's going to be very tricky to figure that [liability] out," said Fran Lanzer, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving Colorado.

Meanwhile, there was brief discussion about mandating a last call and training.

"There are visible signs of intoxication," said Maureen McNamara, who for 20 years has been training bartenders on how to tell if someone is intoxicated, and plans to do a similar training for marijuana consumption areas. "To be sure we're checking IDs properly, we're looking for these signs of intoxication, and we have the skills to jump in and react to the possibility of overconsumption."

The committee will meet six to eight times and give its recommendations to city regulators.


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