The 16th St. Mall in downtown Denver, Colorado.

Jack Gray

Denver Preparing For July Launch of Cannabis Social-Use Program

As officials in Denver, Colorado are preparing to roll out the voter-approved social-use scheme next month, both cannabis and non-cannabis businesses are preparing for the changes. The four-year pilot program will allow companies to apply for social-use licenses – which cost $1,000 – but under the rules, customers must bring their own cannabis products.

Jim Norris, the co-owner of the Mutiny Information Café, a used bookstore and coffee shop, is vying for a permit hoping to turn the shop into a cannabis café once a month, hosting a “dance party-slash-comedy deal.”

“We’re going to have people come in and just smoke weed and hang out. They’re going to buy a book, they’re going to play pinball, they’re going to have some coffee, maybe get a comic or a record.” Norris said in a Buzzfeed report. “So basically, it’s already the same thing I’ve got going, except we can smoke weed. Caffeine and cannabis is the perfect combination. It inspires talk, it inspires creativity.”

However, some in the cannabis community are not so enthused by the rules. Tim Morgen, community relations specialist for BGood, said that cannabis operators won’t be able to make money off of public consumption.

“The industry, as a whole, has nothing to win on this,” Morgen said. “It’s not worth the fight.”

Nick Armogida, a marketing consultant, took Morgen’s sentiments a bit further and called the rules something “Jeff Sessions’ office” might have come up with.

Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board is currently considering social-use rules for the entire state, but none of their proposals are of the bring-your-own variety. Instead, regulators in Alaska are considering allowing consumption only if the products are purchased on-site, sampling, and allowing on-site consumption of edibles but prohibiting smoking and vaping.

Emmett Reistroffer, campaign director for Denver’s I-300 social-use initiative, called the city ordinance “far from what the voters approved six months ago.”

“I would say 99 percent of the businesses that expressed interest in these permits are no longer eligible or interested because of the burdens,” he said.

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