In the News: The Denver Post Endorses ‘Yes on 300’
Yes on 300 – The Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program
Designed with both cannabis consumers & Denver communities in mind, Initiative 300 (the proposed initiative of the Yes on 300 campaign) is a pilot program that aims to create private areas for adults 21+ to consume cannabis socially.
In Denver we’ve legalized the purchase and possession of cannabis for adults but have not provided them with a safe and private place to consume it away from city sidewalks, parks and places where children congregate. The City of Denver Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program is a responsible approach to solving this problem that won’t remedy itself. It will provide designated spaces in certain City-permitted business establishments where adults 21 and over can consume cannabis in accordance with the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act and out of view of the public. The problem stems from the fact that many residents of Denver live in HOA or landlord-controlled properties that disallow cannabis use on the premises, while more than 70 million tourists come to Colorado each year, also with no place to go. This has led to a 500% increase in public consumption tickets issued in Denver since the passing of Amendment 64 in Colorado, with African-Americans being arrested at a rate 2.6 times higher than whites.
To remedy this, the City of Denver Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program is designed to mutually serve the interests of both cannabis consumers and Denver neighborhoods by requiring a prospective permit holder to garner formal support from an eligible neighborhood organization prior to applying with the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses. To allow neighborhoods the ability to slowly step into this new territory, the proposed permits could be issued for a short duration of time, such as for a single event, allowing for a phased integration of this program that adjusts to current unknowns as they are realized and best practices are developed. Neighborhood organizations will have the ability to mandate certain restrictions on the businesses to ensure they operate in a manner that is most appropriate for the neighborhoods in which they operate, empowering neighborhoods to be part of the process and set high standards of responsibility for cannabis consumers and cannabis consumption permit holders. Ultimately this is a pilot program that will sunset in 2020 if not extended by city council or an additional voter initiative. Vote Yes on 300 and help give all adult Denver residents and visitors access to safe, legal spaces to use cannabis.
Lessons from Last Time Around
September 3, 2015
In July 2015, the Campaign for Limited Social Cannabis Use launched a petition drive to qualify an initiative for the November 2015 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.
Thanks to the generosity and hard work of supporters who contributed to that effort we collected enough signatures last year to qualify for the ballot. In what some considered a surprise move, we formally withdrew the ballot initiative to work with Denver civic and business leaders who acknowledged the need to address this issue and at the time committed to work with us to develop a social cannabis use law that reflects the interest and concerns of all parties. Our efforts last year put this issue 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 a few weeks last year than we had in the previous two years combined!
Withdrawing was not a decision that was made lightly. The 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 last year 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. This is why the NSCCPP is working alongside eligible neighborhood organizations and civic leaders to ensure this time around we do it right and with respect to all stakeholders regarding this important discussion.
Endorsements & Support for ‘Yes on 300’