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Denver officials detail next steps for implementing social marijuana measure

(DenverPost) But figuring out the “confines of the law” may be the trickiest part in coming months as officials develop regulations for Initiative 300. The ballot measure, which passed with 53.6 percent support Nov. 8, mandates that the city make permits available for businesses to create bring-your-own-marijuana consumption areas, either for events or regular use, lasting up to a year. Those businesses first would need to obtain support from a local neighborhood or business organization. City Attorney Kristin Bronson said state law, which bars consumption of marijuana “openly and publicly,” doesn’t define those terms clearly, leaving plenty for her office to interpret. She said it would consult other laws defining “public places” to create further restrictions for the consumption areas as well as other safeguards to comply with Colorado’s Amendment 64. While Initiative 300 requires the city to make permit applications available by Jan. 21 — and officials plan to meet that deadline — applications likely won’t be accepted until next summer. A draft timeline detailed by Kilroy said that may happen between June and August. The city then would begin issuing permits. “We won’t begin accepting (applications) until we’ve gotten through the process and know what the rules will be,” she told nine council members who attended Monday’s briefing. Initiative 300 set a four-year pilot period for the permit program and requires that the council establish a task force to analyze its impact. There are some big limitations from the start: Under state laws and regulations, the permits will be off-limits for marijuana businesses, including dispensaries, and for businesses with liquor licenses, including bars.

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