53.4% of Denver voters so far back initiative on social use of marijuana
Businesses that allow marijuana use would need a permit from city and neighborhood approval
Getting high in Denver is about to get more social.
The city is on track to approving a groundbreaking new measure that would allow people to use marijuana at designated businesses such as restaurants and bars.
The Denver vote appears to mark another victory for the pot legalization movement. Colorado and Washington became the first states to approve recreational marijuana use in 2012. California, Massachusetts and Nevada also joined that club by legalizing recreational marijuana use last week.
The Denver measure, called Initiative 300, would allow marijuana use in private businesses that receive a permit from the city. Business owners could set up an area inside or outside for smoking, but they must also get approval from their neighborhood organization to do so.
While people in Colorado have been able to buy pot, they haven’t had many options where they could use it legally. It’s not allowed in public such as parks, sidewalks or near places where kids gather.
“We have millions of people visiting the state of Colorado,” Emmett Reistroffer, who advocated for the measure, said in a Tuesday press conference. “Many of them are trying cannabis and have nowhere to go. I also think it’s important they have somewhere to go where staff is trained because we want to promote responsible use.”
Critics of the initiative had argued that the measure would expand public use of marijuana and expose bystanders to secondhand smoke.
Initiative 300 is a pilot program that would expire in 2020 unless the city council passes a new law or Denver voters push another ballot initiative.
CNN’s Joshua Berlinger contributed to this report.