Backers of Denver Initiative to Allow Limited Social Marijuana Use Submit Petition With 10,700+ Signatures; 4,726 Needed to Qualify for November Ballot

DENVER — The Campaign for Limited Social Use submitted more than 10,700 signatures Monday in support of a Denver initiative that would allow the limited social use — but not sale — of marijuana at commercial establishments in areas restricted to adults 21 and older. Valid signatures of 4,726 registered city voters are needed to qualify for the November 2015 ballot. The city clerk has 25 days to certify the petition.

“While petitioning, we found that most voters agree adults should be able to consume marijuana socially in establishments that choose to allow it,” said initiative proponent Mason Tvert. “By allowing adults to consume marijuana in private businesses, we can reduce the likelihood that they’ll consume it publicly in parks or on the street.”

Under the proposed measure, businesses that have a license to sell alcohol for onsite consumption would be able to decide whether to allow cannabis consumption on the premises. Businesses that choose to allow only cannabis consumption (without licensed alcohol consumption) would be subject to regulation by the city, including restrictions on location and hours of operation. All commercial establishments that allow adults to use marijuana would be required to comply with the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, which means (1) only non-smokable forms of marijuana would be allowed indoors, and (2) smoking marijuana would only be allowed in existing designated smoking areas that are not viewable to the public.  

“The initiative balances the interests of cannabis consumers with the rights of business owners to determine what kind of conduct may occur on their premises,” Kayvan Khalatbari, co-owner of Sexy Pizza, Sexpot Comedy, and Denver Relief. “It will be up to each individual business owner to decide whether cannabis use will be allowed or prohibited. This is a very sensible approach, and it’s one that should be embraced by city officials and voters.”

A strong majority (56%) of likely 2015 voters in Denver support the proposed initiative, according to a survey conducted in June by Public Policy Polling. Just 40% are opposed.