Pubdate: Sun, 06 Sep 2015
Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2015 Star Advertiser
Author: Jack Healy, New York Times


DENVER - Whether bought from a downtown shop or cadged from a 
friend's basement greenhouse, legal marijuana is easy to find in 
Colorado. Places to smoke it, not so much.

Smoking in private homes and on front porches is allowed. But under a 
thicket of state, local and private regulations, marijuana use here, 
in a state at the forefront of legalization, is banned from parks and 
sidewalks, airport smoking areas, hotel rooms, gallery events, 
nightclubs and nearly every other corner of public life. Smoking in 
public is regularly ticketed, and in spring the Denver police raided 
two private marijuana-friendly clubs and handed out citations.

But in the latest battle over legalizing marijuana, advocates are 
seeking to allow legal pot use in establishments like bars or clubs 
that cater to over-21 crowds. Supporters are calling it "limited 
social cannabis use."

In Denver some of the advocates behind the 2012 vote that made 
Colorado, with Washington state, the first in the nation to legalize 
the sale and use of recreational marijuana say that the restrictions 
on use are too onerous and have created a paradoxical landscape where 
consumers - tourists in particular - are illegally consuming their 
legally bought marijuana.

The crowd at the private fenced patio at the Bud & Breakfast of 
Denver, one of a handful of marijuana-friendly accommodations across 
the state, eagerly supports more places to legally and comfortably 
use marijuana.

A retiree from Texas and Owner, Bud & Breakfast of Denver her husband 
and adult daughter were sitting under a sun shade and marveling at 
how surreal it felt to buy marijuana, and then smoke it, with no 
worries about the police barging in.

The setup at the bed-and-breakfast is bring-your-own. The owner, Joel 
Schneider, said he used to offer small free samples at a "bud bar" 
until he got a misdemeanor citation. But for $300 to $400 a night, 
guests get breakfast (called the Wake and Bake), a 4:20 afternoon 
tea, access to shelves of bongs and vaporizers, and plenty of space 
to chat and smoke.

"We try to create a social atmosphere," Schneider said as his guests 
mingled on the patio and lit up. "Everyone who stays here has 
something in common: They want to sit around and smoke cannabis."

"We need to ensure that adults have somewhere they can go," said 
Mason Tvert, an activist who helped lead the legalization fight three 
years ago. "We have establishments where adults can go to drink beer, 
which reduces the likelihood that they'll use it in public. That's 
what we're talking about here."

But Amendment 64, the voter-approved constitutional measure that 
legalized recreational marijuana, outlaws marijuana that is consumed 
"openly and publicly or in a manner that endangers others."

Some in the marijuana industry favor members-only smoking clubs or 
Amsterdam-style "coffee shops" for marijuana users. Others envision a 
future in which people could vaporize marijuana or consume edibles at 
a downtown bar on Saturday nights as freely as someone sipping a martini.

Marijuana advocates have proposed a Denver ballot measure for 
November that would allow some marijuana consumption in city 
establishments that cater exclusively to customers over 21.

Supporters submitted more than 10,500 petition signatures to put the 
question to voters. But they have also been talking with city 
officials and business groups in the hope of drafting a local 
legislation for limited marijuana use, one that would lead them to 
withdraw the ballot measure.

Some restaurant owners and event planners said they would love to 
host marijuana-friendly parties, but the Colorado Restaurant 
Association has come out "adamantly against" the ballot proposal, 
said a spokeswoman for the group, Carolyn Livingston.

Businesses said they worried about their legal liability and 
insurance risks. "We do not support this in any way, shape or form," 
Livingston said.

And Gina Carbone, an activist who has been working to keep marijuana 
away from children, said Colorado had approved recreational 
marijuana, in part, because of promises that marijuana use would 
happen in private. She said allowing it in bars or clubs would betray 
part of that promise.

"It's just going to increase visibility and further normalize pot 
use," Carbone said. "And this is just not good for kids."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom