(AP) — Supporters of a proposed ballot initiative to allow marijuana use in some Denver clubs, bars and hotels withdrew the measure while they negotiate with city officials amid concerns the measure could hurt Denver’s reputation. Marijuana use is currently banned in hotels, bars and other places open to the public, including those that set aside areas for cigarette smoking.
Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project said proponents of the initiative want to give the city time to pass an ordinance allowing guests of private clubs — and some bars, hotels and motels — to use smokeless marijuana vaporizers similar to electronic cigarettes indoors and smoke pot outdoors where it is now prohibited.
“This would not allow public use,’* Tvert said. “It would allow limited social marijuana consumption in some commercial establishments. We believe in the language we put forward and that adults, who consume cannabis, deserve the same freedoms to congregate as those who consume alcohol.”
The mayor, business owners and Denver City Council oppose the ballot measure in its current form and would rather work on a compromise to satisfy their concerns. Tvert said no date has been set for negotiations, but the proponents vowed to start a new petition drive next year if the city drags its feet.
Amie Mayhew, spokeswoman for the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, said some guests want to buy marijuana and ask where they can use it legally and safely. Mayhew said guests who want to comply with the current law often must smoke marijuana in their cars, alleys or other places that might not be safe.She said lodging owners want to protect guests and would support private smoking clubs but not allowing use in hotel and motel rooms.
Mayhew said the proposed ballot measure is too broad. As written, a parking lot could put up a fence and allow marijuana use by providing a private area not open to minors, she said. “To the extent there is middle ground to help our guests, we support that,” she said.