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Denver Initiative Goes Up in Smoke

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As of yesterday, activists in Denver have officially withdrawn a ballot initiative that would have allowed consumption of marijuana in select public places. Had it been approved at the ballot box this November, the measure, officially dubbed The Limited Social Marijuana Consumption Initiative, would have made it possible for adults to partake in privately owned 21+ establishments such as bars and night clubs. Obviously, the measure included parameters, such as approval from the owners of the businesses where consumption was taking place, as well as a maintaining of the city wide ban on smoking indoors.

But today, after collecting more than twice the required signatures to get the measure on the ballot this fall, the organization behind it pulled the plug.

“Today, the campaign will be formally withdrawing the ballot initiative to work with Denver civic and business leaders who acknowledge the need to address this issue and have committed to work with us to develop a social cannabis use law that reflects the interest and concerns of all parties,” the Denver Campaign for Limited Social Use announced on their website.

In continuing, the group explained that this time around, they wanted to try “to address this issue in a collaborative manner,” as opposed to forcing another voter initiative on city officials.  “These are not just closed-door assurances,” they reassured, “As you can see in this front page Denver Post story, city officials and prominent business groups have been willing to express publicly their commitment to finding a workable solution to this issue.”

Though the announcement has been spun in a positive light on the group’s website, many within the movement are decrying the whole campaign as the wrong move from the start and are pointing to the withdrawal of the initiative as evidence.

Keith Stroup, a member of NORML’s legal team wrote a scathing editorial that was published on both the NORML website and, in which he called the ordeal an “embarrassing episode,” as well as, “an impulsive act that should have never seen the light of day.” It should be noted, however, that Stroup stated clearly that he did not disagree with the intended outcome of the initiative, only the timing and the handling of it.

Only time will tell whether the initiative was an actual success or a well-spun blunder. Really, no one will know until we see just exactly what the city government decides to do and how willing they are to work with the activists who backed the measure. For now, it’s best to keep the chiefing at home (or just keep it discreet with a vape).