5 Things You need to know about Denver county’s Initiative 300…

By Manny C.
Written by Amanda Coleman

1) What is public consumption?

No you can’t wake and bake at your favorite park, or blaze up at the beach with friends, or toke as you stroll the local shops. Who knows what the future holds, but currently, that’s not on the table... at all. In fact, consuming cannabis on a public way or in a public space is still very much illegal. Public consumption of cannabis is clearly defined in Initiative 300 and is structured as more a limited social use agreement which is overseen through a permitting process under the MED. Initiative 300 was meticulously detailed about what would be considered eligible for permit, and which areas were restricted completely. (Quick Note: Consumption naturally includes edibles, tonics, cannabis drinks, as well as flower and other inhalants.  

2) I300 is the nation’s first public consumption program

So the successful adoption and implementation of these regulations will have huge impacts in other legalized states. As support for cannabis legalization and calls for the end of the drug war grow nationwide, and year after year, pilot programs like I300 keep Colorado as a progressive, industry leading state. This also has huge ripple effects for the medical cannabis community, as areas like coffee shops, bookstores, hotels/motels (with Indoor Air Act Compliance) and yoga studios maybe be able to host cannabis consumption. For cannabis patients with symptoms that require microdosing or emergency use, it provides a “base camp” where consumption could happen outside of the home and the patient can enjoy the sights and sounds of such a
beautiful city.     

3) Colorado is an I&R State

Which means that residents can support a concept, and with enough support from the community that concept can be added to the next local or state ballot to be voted on in the next election. Here’s the kick in the teeth, not all states are Initiative (concept) and Reform (to be voted on). Colorado was able to pass I300 in Denver county through the efforts of the community and supporters, and by majority vote. I300 currently only applies to Denver county however, so until counties or a statewide vote is held, public consumption rules are only applicable inside the county limits. 

4) Implementation has proven to have some major hurdles for I300

Immediately after its passing I300 led to the creation of a panel to help provide and shape the guidelines that would become the rules of the permitting process. This panel consisted of various MED members, law enforcement representatives, legal representatives, representatives on behalf of the state, supporters of I300, local RNO leaders, opponents of I300, and industry representatives. Over the course of six publicly open meetings, the panel addressed every aspect of I300, from advertising to zoning. Permit applications are available, and the first permits are expected to be released from the MED this summer.  

5) RNO’s

These are Registered Neighborhood Organizations, basically community led groups. These groups can represent a business district or a residential area, and they work together to help meet an agreed upon vision for their community/area and it’s betterment. This can be anything from deciding to install those cute little curbside libraries, to approving a new park or local attraction. They host community meetings and allow the residents/business owners in that area to vote upon these various topics, and under I300 this includes good neighbor agreements. This means that the potential applicant of a permit would have to meet with the neighborhood group and area residents to go over the business plan, operating procedures, and safety measures, as well as any other concerns before the neighborhood agrees to support the permit. This means that some areas may be “green zones” and more readily willing to support a business owner who wants to host consumption than other areas. RNO’s are a major part of most metropolitan areas, check your local city hall to find out who your neighborhood reps are, and how you can join or form one.


What are your thoughts on public consumption for legalized states?


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About the author: Manny C.

Cannabis Activist, industry blogger, and founding member of Illinois Citizens Responsible Regulation.