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 128 Articles

Anthony Johnson, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, is the director of New Approach Oregon, working to effectively implement the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature, before regulatory bodies,and at city councils and county commissions across the state.

He was proud to work as Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon’s cannabis legalization effort and director of the Vote Yes on 91 PAC, the political action committees responsible for the state’s legalization campaign. He also advises cannabis entrepreneurs on how to comply with Oregon’s laws and helps organize the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference. Anthony’s blogs on are personal in nature and don’t speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization. You can see his work here at as well as