Just two months ago, the Campaign for Limited Social Cannabis Use launched a petition drive to qualify an initiative for the November ballot in Denver. The goal of the campaign was to change the laws in the city so that adults could congregate and enjoy cannabis socially, just as alcohol consumers do. We were frustrated that this issue was not being addressed by city leaders and wanted to push things forward.
Now, thanks to the generosity and hard work of supporters who contributed to the effort and helped collect enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, we have succeeded. The issue is on the collective radar of both city officials and Denver business leaders, and we have had more productive conversations with them about social use in the past two weeks than in the previous 18 months combined!
This leads us to what many may consider at first blush to be unusual news: Today, the campaign will be formally withdrawing the ballot initiative to work with Denver civic and business leaders who acknowledge the need to address this issue and have committed to work with us to develop a social cannabis use law that reflects the interest and concerns of all parties.
This is not a decision that was made lightly. This campaign was driven by the same spirit and passion that drove our work on the successful legalization initiative in Denver in 2005, the Amendment 64 campaign in 2012, and efforts to expand the medical marijuana system and cannabis consumers’ rights in all the years in between. There is certainly no fear, as far as campaign leaders are concerned, in pushing the envelope and taking matters to the voters.
But conversations over the past few weeks have convinced campaign leaders that there is a sincere desire on the part of city leaders to address this issue in a collaborative manner. And these are not just closed-door assurances. As you can see in this front page Denver Post story, city officials and prominent business groups have been willing to express publicly their commitment to finding a workable solution to this issue.
Based on this show of good faith, campaign leaders were willing to forego a contentious ballot initiative fight in order to give the collaborative process a shot. We are optimistic about these discussions, but also know that we can return to the ballot in November — when the electorate will be far more favorable to our cause — if they do not result in an acceptable outcome.
For those of you who may be disappointed by today’s news, we hope that you appreciate the progress we have made. This discussion needed to be advanced and we would not be where we are today if we had not invested the time, energy, and resources in qualifying the initiative for the ballot. In fact, we are now closer to bringing a social cannabis use law to Denver than ever before.
Today is not the end of a campaign; it is a transition from a ballot initiative process to a lobbying effort. And we will not rest until cannabis consumers in Denver enjoy the same rights to congregate and socialize as alcohol consumers.