Join us in Denver on September 17 for a fundraiser in support of the Utah medical cannabis campaign!
This November, Utah will vote on a medical cannabis ballot initiative (Prop 2). While most polls suggest that the initiative will pass, a strong opposition campaign has recently emerged. The Utah Patients Coalition — the campaign working to pass Prop 2 — needs your support. We anticipate a misleading opposition ad campaign over the next two months, and the Utah Patients Coalition needs resources in order to present voters with the facts.
So please join MPP’s Deputy Director Matt Schweich for a fundraiser in Denver on Monday, September 17 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. MT. Law firm Vicente Sederberg is kindly hosting an event at its office. I will provide a briefing on the campaign and answer your questions. Attendees are encouraged to make a $50 donation to the campaign. Contributions will be accepted at the door, or you can make them online.
WHAT: Briefing on the 2018 Utah medical cannabis ballot initiative
WHEN: Monday, September 17, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Vicente Sederberg, 455 Sherman Street, Suite 390, Denver
We look forward to seeing you in Denver!
In November 2016, Denver voters approved a measure that allows local businesses to apply for permits to set aside areas for marijuana consumption by their customers. Now, after months of conflict over the extremely restrictive nature of the rules, the city is accepting applications.
Advocates are still decrying the regulations, however, saying that the rules are designed to make it almost impossible for most businesses to take part. In particular, they are concerned that a requirement that applicants be at least 1,000 feet from a variety of educational, treatment, and public facilities, including city parks, eliminates most potential applicants and is unfair when compared to much less restrictive buffer zones for businesses that sell alcohol. Locals are considering a lawsuit against the city to address this issue.
Denver voters have approved a ballot initiative to allow social cannabis use in certain private businesses. Initiated Ordinance 300 (I-300) was too close to call on Election Day, but once all the ballots were counted, it ended up receiving a solid 53.5% of the vote.
I-300 creates a pilot program for permitting private establishments to allow adult cannabis consumption in designated areas. The city will only issue permits to establishments that have received formal support from their officially recognized neighborhood organization or business-improvement district, and recipients will be required to follow a number of guidelines. A full description of I-300 is available on the Yes on 300 campaign's website.
The passage of I-300 is generating a ton of media attention around the country and abroad.
"This is a groundbreaking law that reflects the shift taking place in the public attitudes toward marijuana," Mason Tvert, Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Mashable.
"By allowing adults to use marijuana in certain private establishments, we can reduce the chances that they are going to use it in public, like on the street or in the park. This is a community-focused measure that ensures neighborhoods will have the final say over what is and is not allowed," Tvert said.
"We believe this will allow communities and businesses to test the waters to see what works, then move forward with the best plans possible. We are hopeful this will produce a system that can serve as a model for other cities and towns in Colorado and throughout the nation," Tvert told Mashable.
Backers of Initiated Ordinance 300 (I-300), a Denver ballot measure intended to permit cannabis consumption in certain private places in order to reduce it in public spaces, announced Tuesday that it had received several major political endorsements. The Democratic Party of Denver, New Era Colorado, State Sen. Irene Aguilar of Denver, and State Rep. Jonathan Singer have joined more than 100 local businesses and organizations that are encouraging Denver residents to vote “YES” on 300 to establish a Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program.
I-300 would permit certain private establishments to allow adult cannabis consumption in designated areas if they follow a number of guidelines. The city will only issue permits to establishments that have received formal support from their officially recognized neighborhood organization or business-improvement district. A full description of I-300 is available here.
I-300 received the support of nearly three-fourths of the voting members of the Denver Democratic Party’s Central Committee. Multiple precinct captains and party leaders spoke in favor of Initiative 300, while no members spoke in opposition. Sen. Aguilar was among party members who spoke in support of I-300, citing a need for places where tourists and residents can safely and legally consume cannabis if they do not have a private residence where they can do so.
The Denver Campaign for Limited Social Use submitted more than 10,000 signatures Monday in support of a city initiative that would allow the limited social use — but not sale — of marijuana at commercial establishments in areas restricted to adults 21 and older.
4,726 valid signatures of registered city voters are needed to qualify for the November 2015 ballot. The city clerk has 25 days to certify the petition.
Under the proposed measure, businesses that have a license to sell alcohol for onsite consumption would be able to decide whether to allow cannabis consumption on the premises. Businesses that choose to allow only cannabis consumption (without licensed alcohol consumption) would be subject to regulation by the city, including restrictions on location and hours of operation. All commercial establishments that allow adults to use marijuana would be required to comply with the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, which means (1) only non-smokable forms of marijuana would be allowed indoors, and (2) smoking marijuana would only be allowed in existing designated smoking areas that are not viewable to the public.
A strong majority (56%) of likely 2015 voters in Denver support the proposed initiative, according to a survey conducted in June by Public Policy Polling. Just 40% are opposed. The full results are available here.
Yesterday, a Holiday Inn hotel operator in Colorado and a national anti-marijuana organization filed a federal lawsuit intended to shut down all of Colorado’s legal marijuana retail stores and cultivation facilities.
MPP is encouraging everyone who supports legalizing and regulating marijuana to (1) join us in a nationwide boycott of Holiday Inn hotels until the suit is withdrawn, and (2) sign our Change.org petition urging the hotel operator to withdraw it.
The people spearheading this effort were warriors in the Reagan administration’s Justice Department during the “Just Say No” era, and now they’re trying to turn back the clock 30 years in Colorado. At their press conference, the attorney who filed the lawsuit said they want everyone in Colorado who grows or sells marijuana for adult use to go to prison (yes, they actually said “prison”).
These guys aren’t messing around, and neither are we. Help us send businesses the message that they will face consequences if they join the fight to maintain marijuana prohibition.
Sign our petition calling on the Holiday Inn operator to drop its misguided lawsuit, boycott Holiday Inn until the suit gets dropped, and encourage your friends and relatives to do the same.
The Marijuana Policy Project is launching billboards this week in Denver and Seattle that encourage parents to keep marijuana out of reach of children. The ads are part of a broader public education campaign urging adults to “consume responsibly” in states where marijuana is legal.
The billboards feature a child looking at what could be a glass of grape juice or a stemless glass of wine and a few cookies that might or might not be infused with marijuana. It reads, “Some juices and cookies are not meant for kids,” and urges them to, “Keep ‘adult snacks’ locked up and out of reach.”
The “Consume Responsibly” campaign made national headlines when it launched in September with a billboard that alluded to columnist Maureen Dowd’s infamous marijuana edibles experience and urged adults to exercise caution when consuming them.
“Now that states are taking a smarter approach to marijuana policy, it’s time for a smarter approach to marijuana education,” said MPP's Mason Tvert. “Issues such as over-consumption and accidental ingestion are not unique to marijuana, and a lot can be learned from how we handle other legal products. These problems can be addressed by raising awareness and informing adults about steps that should be taken to prevent them.”
As reported by The Washington Post, the Marijuana Policy Project, in partnership with marijuana industry leader Medbox, Inc., is now launching a $75,000 public education campaign to counter what communications director, Mason Tvert, describes as decades of “exaggeration, fear mongering, and condescension.” The campaign will launch at noon in Denver, Colorado in front of a billboard aimed at tourists.
The outdoor ad reads, “Don’t let a candy bar ruin your vacation. With edibles, start low and go slow.”
The ad is an allusion to the case of Maureen Dowd, a New York Times columnist who got sick from eating a marijuana edible on a visit to Denver to cover the topic of marijuana.
Ensuring the safe use of edible marijuana products has proven troublesome in Colorado since legal sales began in January. Many people have more experience smoking marijuana than consuming it in edible form, and because the effects have a slower onset with edibles, it is harder for inexperienced users to self-regulate. The headlines ridiculing legal pot advocates, as well as Dowd’s experience, have been enough for the industry to promote moderation with edible pot forms.
“So far, every campaign designed to educate the public about marijuana has relied on fear mongering and insulting marijuana users. Like most Americans, Ms. Dowd has probably seen countless silly anti-marijuana ads on TV, but she has never seen one that highlights the need to ‘start low and go slow’ when choosing to consume marijuana edibles,” Tvert stated.
The campaign will begin in Colorado, featuring print ads, online ads, and literature to be distributed at retail locations urging responsible consumption and directing people to ConsumeResponsibly.org, which is patterned after the alcohol industry’s “Drink Responsibly” campaign. It will present information about products, laws, and the effects of marijuana. The campaign will eventually expand to Washington, where marijuana is also legally taxed and regulated.
It’s been exactly six months since legal retail marijuana sales began in Colorado, and today is the first day that retail marijuana business licenses are open to all applicants — not just those who previously held medical marijuana licenses.
Click here for an application checklist and the required application forms. Please note that these licenses would not go into effect until October 1, 2014, and businesses would still require local approval.
In these brief six months, the Centennial State has already experienced overwhelmingly positive results! There has been a 10.1% decrease in overall crime from 2013. As of May, the state had collected $10.9 million in taxes from adult use stores alone. The Department of Revenue has licensed nearly 600 retail marijuana businesses — including dispensaries, cultivators, and infused products manufacturers — and 10,043 individuals to work in the industry.
Collateral sectors are also feeling the love, especially in the tourism industry. Colorado ski resorts enjoyed a record-breaking season, with 12.6 million visitors, and 14 million Denver tourists spent an all-time high of $4 billion. More families and businesses are also moving to the Mile High City. In 2013, Denver attracted more sales of single-family homes last year than during the housing boom, and is ranked among the top commercial real estate markets to watch.
State regulators and state police recently performed sting operations on 20 different marijuana stores in the Denver and Pueblo areas to determine compliance with state law, reports 9 News. The conclusion they reached was undisputed: None of the stores were breaking the law by selling marijuana to people under the age of 21. In Colorado, marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol, including the stipulation that people without medical marijuana licenses may only purchase marijuana from retail establishments if they are 21 or older. The sting operations involved sending underage customers into stores to attempt to buy marijuana while being supervised by police officers. Shops who break the law face huge fines and can have their licenses revoked.
During the course of these sting operations, not a single underage buyer was allowed to purchase marijuana from any of the 20 shops. Business owners have welcomed this announcement as an important sign of the legitimacy of the industry and the effectiveness of the regulatory structure. In response to this news, Lewis Koski, the director of the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division, issued a statement. He said, "We are pleased with the results and will continue to monitor the businesses to ensure that the compliance efforts are maintained."