Denver Legalizes Cannabis Consumption at Bars and Restaurants

denver social use initiative

Denver, Colorado, has undeniably been a leading city in the fight to legalize cannabis. Cannabis commerce for all adults kicked off first in Colorado and Denver has long had more marijuana outlets than Starbucks or McDonalds with nearly 400 licenced and regulated cannabis retailers and dispensaries in the city. The Mile High City is leading the way again, this time passing the first adult cannabis consumption law that allows adults to vaporize inside, and smoke outside of, bars and restaurants.

Over 53% of Denver voters said “yes” to Initiative 300, agreeing to legalize adult cannabis consumption sites. The ability of adults to responsibly utilize cannabis in establishments that allow alcohol, is an important step for the continued mainstreaming of cannabis in our society. Many advocates, legislators and policymakers in states that have legalized cannabis will certainly be paying close attention to Denver, examining various data to gauge Initiative 300’s impact on the city. I will certainly work with other Oregon advocates to pass a similar law in Oregon. My prediction is that the Reefer Madness predictions of prohibitionists will be proven wrong (as usual) and that other cities and states will follow suit with similar laws.

Prohibitionists have tried to demonize Denver and the entire state of Colorado, but their claims don’t hold water. Unfortunately, Arizona’s anti-legalization campaign unfairly mischaracterized Colorado’s experience with legalization, leading to several Colorado officials to publicly correct the record, but political damage had already been done. It will be imperative for businesses and consumers in Denver to act as responsibly as possible with this newfound freedom as legalization opponents will be looking to demonize Denver once again. I trust that, once again, cannabis will be shown to be safer than alcohol and Denver will continue to flourish and be recognized as one of the best cities in America.

Thank you, Denver voters. You have helped lead our nation towards more freedom, jobs and revenue and the cannabis community owes you a debt of gratitude. I’m closing this blog with a Facebook post of  attorney Christian Sederberg, one of the architects of Colorado’s Amendment 64 and Denver’s Initiative 300. Christian’s post is a reminder of all of the work that goes into improving our cannabis laws and that a small group of people can accomplish great things.

Anthony Johnson
About Anthony Johnson 155 Articles
Anthony Johnson is the director of New Approach Oregon, the Political Action Committee responsible for Oregon's Measure 91 cannabis legalization campaign and co-owner of Duff Johnson Consulting. As Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Anthony served on the state's initial Marijuana Advisory Committee and he continues to advocate for sensible policies that decrease unnecessary arrests, protect patients' safe access, and help small businesses. With Duff Johnson Consulting, Anthony helps cannabis farmers, processors, retailers, and ancillary businesses with licensing, compliance, public relations, and marketing. DJC clients include the International Cannabis Business Conference, the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, Cannabliss, Natural Roots, and numerous medical cannabis cultivators that provide free cannabis to patients in need.Anthony co-hosts the Let's Hash It Out podcast, available here on Weed News, at, Sound Cloud, iTunes, and Stitcher. Anthony's blogs on Weed News are personal and don't necessarily reflect the views of any organization or company.