Pubdate: Thu, 17 Nov 2016
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


In Denver it'€™s now easier to get high in public than to smoke

Denver voters last week passed a first-of-its-kind referendum allowing
consumption of pot in public settings, though the new law has so many
caveats and complexities that hipsters may have to hire a fleet of
consultants. Cannabis liberationists: meet the regulatory state.

In 2012 Colorado voters approved a ballot measure legalizing marijuana
statewide in part on the premise that it would reduce law enforcement
costs and minority arrests. Neither turned out to be true since so
many people were caught illegally using pot in public. Thus the good
progressives in the Mile High City crafted a local initiative
providing more freedom to consume weed outside of one'€™s home.

Bars and restaurants will now be able to give customers an option of
consuming pot a la carte. While patrons won'€™t be allowed to smoke
indoors, they can vape away and there may be designated smoking areas
outdoors. Bars will also be prohibited from selling weed alongside
food and drink -  thus protecting licenced marijuana dispensaries from
competition - so hipsters will have to bring their own pot.

The many carveouts include one for businesses such as yoga studios
that could serve weed alongside food and cocktails so long as the pot
isn'€™t for sale, strictly speaking. To obtain a permit, businesses
must pay a $1,000 application fee plus an additional $1,000 annually.
They would also have to demonstrate compliance with sundry safety
rules such as providing a "€œplan that demonstrates how rental
cannabis consumption will be cleaned and sanitized."

They must also show a€œevidence of community support -€ including the
backing of an "€œeligible neighborhood association or business
improvement district."€ NIMBY groups may extort, er, require
conditions for their support. Hipsters will learn what it means to do
business with co-op boards and homeowner associations that may not
want skunk weed aromas wafting through public spaces.

Designated consumption areas will have to be marked with
"€œconspicuous signage measuring not less than forty (40) square
inches in size that includes the statement '€˜NO ENTRY UNDER 21'€™ in
all upper case letters not less than one (1) inch high."€ The law
also specifies that "€œany outside smoking of cannabis occurring at
the street level is not visible from a public right-of-way or a place
where children congregate."

If nothing else, Denver'™s stoners will now find it easier to get
high on pot than to smoke cigarettes.
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