BY ED MURRIETA
Colorado regulators delivered a sobering blow to anyone hoping to enjoy a cannabis-infused dinner paired with beer or wine in Denver.
Initiative 300 was approved by 53.5 percent of Denver’s registered voters Nov. 8. It authorized a pilot program that would allow businesses –cafes, bars, restaurants, yoga studios, laundromats, whatever — to provide customers areas in which to consume cannabis, be it eating, vaping and, in some cases, smoking.
Today, the Liquor Enforcement Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue announced a new rule: Any business with a liquor license will be prohibited from seeking a cannabis permit.
Initiative 300 had been trumpeted as a first-in-the-nation event. It calls for the creation of a four-year pilot program that will allow most businesses to seek permits for separate cannabis consumption areas indoors or outdoors. Applicants first would seek backing from a local neighborhood or business group, which would have a say in setting operating conditions in exchange for support. City officials are starting discussions about how to implement the measure. Applications for permits begin in January.
“We clearly will be taking this new rule into account as we assess how to implement 300,” spokesman for the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses told the Denver Post.
The Liquor Enforcement Division’s cannabis prohibition leaves Denver in a similar position to California, where the newly passed recreational cannabis initiative allows for cannabis cafes — but not in any location with a liquor license.
“How are we going to struggle with some of the restrictions built into Prop. 64 such as the inability of restaurants that serve wine to serve cannabis cuisine?” said Terrance Alan, chairman of a task force advising San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors on cannabis matters, including cannabis cafes. “It may be that we have go to Sacramento and talk to them about that because that prohibition may not make sense in a fine-dining experience.”