Denver to become first US city to allow pot in bars and restaurants


Written by Claire Bernish at


If the activists who helped bring recreational marijuana to Colorado get their wish, weed consumption will be a legal activity in Denver establishments that admit adults 21 and older.

In order to secure the proposal for “limited social marijuana consumption” on November’s ballot, the activists need just 5,000 signatures. Though Colorado law prohibits recreational use “openly and publicly or in a manner that endangers others,” there are no stipulations banning consumption in private clubs with the 21 and up age restriction. This law would serve as a legal clarification.

Smoking cannabis would fall under the same clean-air guidelines as cigarette smoking, with designated outdoor areas shielded from public view. The only catch? Patrons must bring their own. State law prevents marijuana dispensaries from allowing on-site consumption of the products they sell and they cannot sell alcohol or food that doesn’t contain marijuana.
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“Marijuana’s now a legal product for adults in Denver, and it’s really time we give adults a place to use it legally and socially. We shouldn’t be requiring that you sit at home if you choose to use marijuana as an adult,” said Mason Tvert, who was in charge of the 2012 campaign for legalization in Colorado.

If the proposal passes, Denver would join Colorado cities Pueblo and Nederland, which already have similar laws in place. Colorado Springs has several private marijuana clubs that aren’t specifically permitted, but the city’s mayor reportedly plans to seek regulations soon.

Denver’s smattering of underground clubs—that allow pot consumption for a fee—have been the subject of occasional raids by police, leaving tourists, well, not-so-high and dry. Supporters of the ballot measure believe the law would give visitors a place to consume legally.

Jane West is one such proponent, after a cannabis-friendly bakery brunch she organized last year ended with her conviction for a misdemeanor. “An eight-person SWAT team descended on the event and shut down the brunch,”she explained. West was one of the petition’s first signers. Petitions for the Denver proposal are due in early August.

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