Colorado has made new strides in marijuana legalization, passing a law that allows consumers to publicly use marijuana in any business that permits it. It’s one of many wins marijuana advocates saw Election Day, such as California and Massachusetts voting in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana use.
Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use back in 2014 for the 21 and older crowd, but as the Denver Post noted, there’s limited places people can use marijuana. Tourists, or even Denver residents, can’t use weed unless they’re in a licensed cannabis club. Tourists would have to find a pro-marijuana hotel or a marijuana friendly Air BnB, while Denver residents who aren’t property owners can’t use marijuana indoors unless they have permission from the homeowner.
Initiative 300, which passed with 53.3 percent support, is the law allowing for a four-year pilot program that would allow businesses, including but not limited to, bars and restaurants to apply for permits to have indoor or outdoor marijuana consumption areas. The bring-your-own-marijuana areas would be be limited to those to 21 and over and would be restricted to edibles or vaping if indoors. Outdoor marijuana consumption areas would have to comply with other restrictions. For example “[the area] cannot be visible from a public right-of-way or a place where children congregate.” More importantly, businesses applying for either temporary or annual permits must get approval from a neighborhood organization or a local business district.
Not everyone is happy about the new state of affairs. Smart Colorado co-founder and Protect Denver’s Atmosphere campaign manager Rachel O’Bryan wrote in a Denver Post op-ed, “By opening the door to marijuana use in any Denver restaurant, bar or other business, Initiative 300 will lead to an increase in drugged driving, threatening everyone on the roads.” Colorado has been releasing PSAs advising against driving while high, citing statistics that drugged driving has increased since recreational marijuana use became legal.