As many of you know, the sale, possession and growing of a limited amount of cannabis is allowed in Colorado for those aged 21 years or older. In Denver there are many places you can buy cannabis, yet the only place you can smoke it is in your own home or on someone else’s private property if they give you permission.
In other words, someone who drinks alcohol can go to any number of bars or lounges or restaurants and drink as much as they want, but someone who has legally purchased cannabis does not have that option.
The Denver chapter of NORML is hoping to change that at the ballot box this fall. They have filed the Responsible Use initiative that, if it makes the ballot and passes, would legalize private cannabis lounges for adults. These would be places where adults can consume cannabis legally, which means out-of-state consumers will have somewhere to partake as well (assuming they don’t know anyone who lives in Denver and would allow them to smoke in their home).
If we are going to treat cannabis like alcohol, then we need to treat it like alcohol. If there are bars for beer and liquor, then there should be bars for cannabis consumption. Of course, the comparison is not perfect; smoking a joint is not the same as drinking a beer in terms of how it affects those around you. You can’t light up a joint in an Applebee’s the same way you can guzzle a margarita. The smoke would likely bother someone close to you, just as they would be bothered if you spit some of your margarita in their direction.
But when possible, legal marijuana and legal alcohol should be equal in terms of where they can be used. And if an establishment is set up specifically for the purpose of cannabis use and everyone who enters agrees to that premise, then who is being hurt?