Denver residents and visitors will be able to use marijuana at area businesses in a few months.
Ordinance 300 passed 53 to 47 percent, according to Monday’s results from the Denver Elections Division.
There’s still a handful of ballots left to count, but it’s not enough to change the outcome.
“I’m really happy that the folks of Denver saw the sensibility of this measure,” Yes on 300 organizer Kayvan Khalatbari said. “It’s a victory for people who use cannabis and for people who don’t.”
The measure gives Denver City Council 60 days to write the rules governing how businesses apply for a permit to let people use marijuana on their premises.
Marijuana dispensaries can’t apply because state law bans on-site consumption.
The permits will cost $1,000 and be valid for up to one year, but they could be valid for as little as one night.
For example, one of the old theaters downtown could hold a concert and designate its balcony as a marijuana area for the evening.
“It’s actually one of my favorite parts of the initiative,” Khalatbari said.
Whether the permit lasts five hours or five months will be up to the city and neighborhood associations. The ordinance requires businesses to gain the support of local associations before applying for a permit.
Khalatbari said they included that requirement to ensure locals are involved in the permitting process and help create best practices. Legal public consumption hasn’t been tried in the U.S. yet, and there are still many unknowns.
Nevada and California, both of which voted earlier this month to legalize recreational marijuana, included clauses about public consumption.
Denver’s ordinance is a four-year pilot program, but Khalatbari thinks it will last beyond that because residents and visitors want safe, legal places to use marijuana.
“We’re looking forward getting this implemented,” Khalatbari said. “Now the hard works begins.”