Two separate ballot initiatives are making the rounds in Denver that could expand social marijuana use.
The Denver chapter of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has been gathering signatures for a “private club” effort for two months. If passed by voters in November, private social clubs would be allowed to have members consume marijuana at meetings and events. However, attendees would have to bring in their own supply and marijuana products could not be sold on-site.
Another group, which includes the advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project and the Vicente Sederberg law firm, are working toward a larger scale social marijuana use policy. They met with City Council officials as this week to go over the language of their proposal. “The Neighborhood Approved Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program” would allow almost any business to create isolated “consumption areas.” These designated areas would allow residents of 21 years and older to consume marijuana as long as neighborhood residents approved. Permits to operate the consumption areas would be valid for four years at a time.
One of the sponsors of the business consumption area effort, marijuana shop owner Kaylan Khalatbari, is hoping to persuade NORML to drop the private club initiative. According to the Denver Post, Khlatbari feels that private clubs would further the segregation between marijuana uses and the general population.
Jordan Person, executive director of the NORML’s Denver chapter did not seem inclined to back away from their efforts.
“We have no reason to withdraw when we’ve made it so far,” Person said. “That would be ridiculous.”
NORML has gathered approximately half of the signatures they require to get the issue to the ballot. Both groups will need to gather at least 4,800 valid signatures from registered Denver voters.
The Denver ballot initiatives are among many possible reform efforts that will be voted on this November.