There’s been a lot of talk in Denver over the past several months about social use of cannabis. The biggest problem being that it is a legal and well-regulated substance, yet there is still basically nowhere that it is acceptable to consume it outside of a private home.
The first ballot initiative started early last year and got withdrawn in December to hopefully come to an agreement. Now the Mayor of Denver is considering being more open about the idea and it started to look like forward motion once again – but it wasn’t fast enough for Denver’s NORML chapter who announced their own social use initiative Friday.
“We greatly appreciate the previous attempt to bring this issue to Denver voters, but we want to get this done,” Person is quoted as saying. “The need is obvious as residents and visitors continue to have no legal place other than private homes to enjoy a legal product with like-minded adults.
“We are coming from the perspective of the consumer and not as industry business owners or representatives,” he adds, “but of course we will work with a broad-based coalition of consumers, industry groups and business to gather the needed signatures and to ensure passage.”
As far as a draft of the initiative, it’s not quite ready yet – it’s currently being reviewed by NORMLs national office as well as the state chapter for Colorado prior to being submitted for official review.
The Denver chapter of NORML is relatively new, but already has 50 members who are prepared to start gathering signatures for this ballot initiative. The possibility that the Marijuana Policy Project (who ran the withdrawn campaign) decides to pick up their campaign again could be tricky – having two similar initiatives for voters to choose from could lower their chances of passing.
However, a statement from Mason Tvert of Marijuana Policy Project seems to hope that if talk with city council and the restaurant and hotel associations does not go well, the two may come together to support one initiative.
The potential NORML ballot bid caught some of the other activists by surprise, but Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project said Friday that he could envision the two efforts converging — if the ongoing city talks fail.
“We hope to reach consensus (with city officials) about a sensible path forward in the coming months, and at the same time we are also beginning to plan for a 2016 initiative should it be needed,” Tvert wrote in an e-mail. “We want to work with everyone we can to bring about the best possible law for Denver, so we hope to speak with the Denver NORML folks soon.”
Either way, it looks to me like Denver will be seeing cannabis clubs and cafes before too much longer!