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Sensi Magazine

Ordinance 300 Wins in Denver

Nov 12, 2016 05:12PM ● By Randy Robinson
It looks like the results are finally in: Denver's Initiated Ordinance 300 won.

As of this writing, the ordinance received roughly 14,000 more "Yes" votes than "No." Prior to today, the votes were too close to call, but as the ballots are counted up, it appears 300 passed with nearly 53 percent approval. 

Also known as "Question 300" or the "Neighborhood Supported Social Use Initiative," this ballot question creates a regulated system for social use permits, allowing cannabis at certain private venues. The details for each permit have to be hammered out on an individual basis, and this program is temporary. If it doesn't look like it's working after four years, it gets scrapped. If it does work, it stays in place, and other districts may base similar ordinances on Denver's.

The Yes on 300 campaign will issue an official statement on Monday, Nov. 14.

Screenshot from the Denver Elections Division website

What's Changing, and Why

In Colorado, the topic of public consumption and social-use venues has been incredibly controversial since the state began legalized recreational marijuana sales in 2014. Social-use or "cannabis clubs" are private venues where registered members could meet and smoke, but the legality of these clubs hovered in a gray area. The city of Denver considered these clubs illegal, as Amendment 64, city officials argued, was only supposed to permit private use of cannabis in the home.

However, without cannabis clubs, most tourists and even some residents were left without places they could consume cannabis. Some private events can have cannabis on the premises, but these events aren't open to the public; they're invite-only. With the passage of 300, tourists and locals alike may have more spaces where they can consume and congregate with like-minded adults.

In Denver, public use of cannabis is considered to be any blatant cannabis consumption in view of the public. First-time violations incur a $100 fine. Subsequent violations can net up to $999 in fines with additional penalties.

How It Works

Although the permits are custom-tailored to the businesses and neighborhoods in question, certain aspects will be in effect across the board.

For one, patrons have to bring their own buds. Second, cannabis smoking must be done outdoors on a patio, balcony, or some other area out of public view. Cannabis vaporizing can be done indoors, but only in designated areas. 

Third, these permits will only go to businesses located far away from wherever children congregate. That means far from schools, parks, and playgrounds. 

Applications involve a vetting process, negotiations with the neighborhood groups, and a fee. Permits may be granted for a single event or annually, depending on the nature of the application.