The Denver Post is reporting that the nation’s most pot-friendly city has passed Initiative 300, a measure that will allow businesses to apply for permits that grant marijuana “consumption areas” onsite.
The bill clears a path for people to smoke in Denver coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and even yoga studios with special permitting.
“This is a victory for cannabis consumers who, like alcohol consumers, simply want the option to enjoy cannabis in social settings,” Kayvan Khalaatbari, co-owner of professional group Denver Relief Consulting and the initiative’s lead advocate, said in a statement.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2012.
A booming “canna-tourism” industry has taken hold since then, with tourists dropping an estimated $100 million at recreational marijuana stores in Colorado last year. Vacationing smokers accounted for nearly 17% of adult-use sales in the state, the Marijuana Business Daily reports.
Until now, public use of marijuana has been banned by state law. Initiative 300 lets any small business — separate from the private cannabis clubs that have cropped up across Colorado — create a designated weed zone, The Denver Post reports. The measure requires that the businessowner gets permission from a local neighbourhood or business group.
The BYO-bud law creates more opportunities for consumption and could increase tax revenue from tourists and locals alike.
In October, State Representative Jonathan Singer, who endorsed the initiative, told The Denver Post the law may also curb citations issued to people who light up in public.
“Finally, law enforcement is going to have the opportunity to tell people: ‘You know what, you can’t smoke in the park, you can’t smoke in a hotel, you can’t smoke in any number of places — but here is where you can go,'” Singer said.
The bill remains in effect for four years. After that, city officials can decide whether or not to let the pilot program continue.
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