Due to the speed at which cannabis legalization is spreading, thanks to Colorado’s initial brave vote, Denver is aiming to try another experiment: the marijuana cafe. If the idea succeeds, we could eventually be seeing such places all over the US.
Proponents of legalization on both the medical and recreational front will have to tamp down their enthusiasm for the time being, however.
The cafe idea is a particularly controversial move. Denver’s own regulations don’t allow for public consumption of marijuana. Also, any alcohol-serving businesses whose owners might want to expand into the marijuana market are hampered by the restriction of choosing either alcohol or cannabis. Choosing to serve both is not an option, at least at this point in time.
Those who want the cafes desire a place to gather with other enthusiasts, but until the cafe idea manages to get approved fully, such folks have had to resort to places like a local mall despite the illegality of public consumption.
The reasons for these clandestine gatherings usually have to do with people’s current living situations, such as asthmatic family members, or HUD rules.
Ergo, having marijuana cafes would be a logical, and ideal proposal. But the current rules are so strict that marijuana-based businesses wouldn’t be able to make any real money, though making money is not the chief goal. One such rule is that owners wouldn’t be able to sell marijuana. It’d be a bring-your-own situation instead.
There seem to be two divisions within the “opponents” camp: those who are okay with the cafes, but want “buffer zones” between cannabis smokers and residential areas, and those who are outright opposed to the cafes altogether, such as the Protect Denver’s Atmosphere group.
We might never see marijuana cafes, but that won’t necessarily halt the rise of country-wide legalization.
Photo by Fabio Sola Penna