Partygoers smoke marijuana during a Prohibition-era themed New Year’s Eve party in 2013 at a bar in Denver, celebrating the start of retail pot sales. Denver is starting work on becoming the first city in the nation to allow marijuana clubs and public pot use in places such as restaurants, yoga studios and art galleries. Voters narrowly approved the “social use” measure last November.
Rachel Schaefer, of Denver, smokes marijuana on the official opening night of Club 64, a marijuana-specific social club, where a New Year’s Eve party was held in Denver in 2012.
Brennan Linsley | AP
DENVER — Denver started work Wednesday on becoming the first city in the U.S. to allow marijuana clubs and public pot use in places such as coffee shops, yoga studios and art galleries.
Voters narrowly approved the “social use” measure last November. But the ballot proposal didn’t spell out many rules for how the marijuana could be consumed, beyond saying that the drug can’t be smoked inside and that patrons must be over 21.
Since then, the state Liquor Control Board has decreed that no businesses with a liquor license can allow marijuana use. That leaves it to restaurants that don’t serve alcohol and other event spaces.
A workgroup made up of Denver business owners, city pot regulators and marijuana opponents met to discuss the details, debating even the simplest topics.
For almost an hour, they debated whether kid-friendly venues such as museums or zoos could host adults-only marijuana-friendly events at night. The measure includes a caveat that public pot use not occur near schools and places kids congregate.
“We don’t want this around children, we all agree,” said Emmett Reisistroffer, a cannabis consultant who ran the public-use campaign.