A preliminary decision was made by the Denver City Council on April 15 to approve a social consumption proposal.
Nine out of the 11 council members voted in favor of proceeding with new rules that would help bolster social consumption in the city. The proposal would allow cannabis businesses to operate closer to recreational centers, day care centers and other businesses that frequent families or children. Councilmember Kendra Black told the council that with limited area of growth for cannabis businesses, this is a necessary step. “There are many people who we have heard from who want to open a business but cannot find a location,” she said.
A local law concerning social consumption passed back in 2016, however only two businesses currently operate with a license to allow customers to consume on-site (Vape and Play, and The Coffee Joint). While the current law dictates that cannabis businesses must be located at least 1,000 feet away from schools and other such businesses, this new proposal would decrease the distance limitation for 500 feet instead.
Such a decision has garnered both negative and positive support from locals. While parents argue that the city should limit the spread of cannabis business, advocates argue that it could help reduce illegal outdoor consumption, according to The Denver Post. “If they have nowhere to consume, they will do it in front of our children,” said Stacy Lynn, an advocate for children’s medical access to cannabis. “How do you get it off the street? You put it in a closed, secure building.”
Councilmember At-Large Robin Kniech also agreed that a movement forward is better than hindering the industry’s growth. “There is no evidence whatsoever that kids are at risk from activity happening in a building they cannot see at 1,000 feet, 500 feet or next door,” Kniech said. “We have so many huge challenges facing our city, and the time we have spent on this . . . frankly offends me.”