Since cannabis was legalized in Colorado, one of the biggest issues it has faced is the fact that there is nowhere to use it in public. Tourists end up medicating or recreating outdoors due to a lack of cannabis clubs or smoke-friendly hotels, and leave the city with a public use fee to pay off as a memento of their trip. Since it is clear that the Colorado industry is not tapering off in success any time soon, the next logical step is for the state capital to get on board with the idea of being able to go out on the town and use cannabis. Despite this, there are still a few hurdles that stand in the way of this becoming a reality.
“It is wonderful that initiatives are finally being formed around the cannabis social use issue,” stated Mark Slaugh, board member of Cannabis Business Alliance, in an interview with CULTURE. “It is an issue that is long overdue. Since 2012 and the passage of Amendment 64, iComply and other CBA members have tried to reason with the legislature on defining cannabis consumption venues, regulating them, and exempting them from the Clean Indoor Air Act.”
Some of the issues facing public use are the worry that allowing smoking indoors of any substance would be unpleasant and unhealthy, and the concern for safety at such a venue. “We understand that fundamentally, we must provide a safe haven for legal and responsible adult use,” Slaugh added.
However, the rousing outcry to this objection is that as long as the state allows legal recreational cannabis but nowhere to imbibe it, they are inviting people here to get criminal charges. “We cannot invite visitors to come to our state for legal marijuana and simultaneously entrap their use of marijuana by forcing them to consume in public spaces,” Slaugh reinforces. “In the absence of action by state officials to resolve this problem, we are seeing the emergence of local democracy to petition and pass city and county laws that provide regulated social venues for adults to consume their marijuana safely and responsibly.”
As of now, there are many plans in the works to make cannabis clubs legal in the county of Denver, but none that is official yet. One way that the city currently gets around these laws is allowing cannabis clubs in the surrounding counties. IBake, the only cannabis club in the area right now, is technically located in Englewood County rather than Denver, allowing it to operate a club despite its close proximity to downtown.
While this process may not happen overnight, it is clear that within the next few years, Denver is due for an influx of even more cannabis users, and will have to come up with the proper facilities to deal with it.