Pubdate: Sat, 23 Jan 2016
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2016 The Denver Post Corp
Author: Jon Murray


A newly formed local chapter of pro-marijuana group NORML says it 
plans to revive a social cannabis use ballot effort that other 
advocates dropped last summer. IBake, a pot club in Englewood, hosted 
marijuana aficionados at an event in July.

Those activists had aimed to allow marijuana use at bars and other 
businesses, but they withdrew their measure in September. Since then, 
the Marijuana Policy Project and law firm Vicente Sederberg have been 
discussing potential compromise ordinances with city officials as 
well as hotel and restaurant industry groups.

Barring a deal, they have said they could refile the ballot 
initiative this year.

NORML's Denver chapter director gave a nod to the previous effort in 
a statement Friday announcing the new potential ballot measure for 
the November ballot. It hasn't yet been drafted or filed with the 
city for review.

"We greatly appreciate the previous attempt to bring this issue to 
Denver voters, but we want to get this done," said Jordan Person, the 
chapter's executive director. "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."

Still undecided: whether NORML, which stands for the National 
Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, would seek a similar 
law to last year's proposal or take a narrower approach, perhaps by 
focusing on private cannabis clubs.

Person also noted Mayor Michael Hancock's recent comments to The 
Denver Post's editorial board voicing a new openness to considering 
cannabis clubs. State legislators also have discussed potential 
bills, with cloudy prospects.

Dan Rowland, a city spokesman, declined to comment on the prospective 

Person said NORML's Denver chapter was formed about four months ago 
and has more than 50 members. Its ballot plans have backing from 
NORML's state chapter, board member Rachel K. Gillette confirmed.

The move comes after NORML's founder and national legal counsel 
called the withdrawal of the earlier ballot proposal "embarrassing."

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."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom