Press Release

Denver Voters Approve Groundbreaking Social Marijuana Use Initiative

Nov 15, 2016

Denver Voters Approve Groundbreaking Social Marijuana Use Initiative

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Contact: Violet Cavendish

 Initiated Ordinance 300 creates a pilot program for allowing adult cannabis consumption in permitted private establishments that have received neighborhood approval


DENVER — Denver voters have approved a groundbreaking ballot initiative to allow social cannabis use in certain private businesses. Denver election officials released a near-final tally Monday evening that showed Initiated Ordinance 300 (I-300) passing 53.5-46.5.

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 at

Statement from Mason Tvert, MPP's Denver-based director of communications and one of the official proponents of I-300:

"This is a groundbreaking law that reflects the shift taking place in the public attitudes toward marijuana. Now that most people recognize marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, they really want to see it treated that way. Denver took the first step a few years ago when it began allowing adults to purchase marijuana legally from regulated businesses. The next step is to provide those adults with places where they can consume it safely and legally. That is exactly what Initiative 300 is going to do.

"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. 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."

Statement from Kayvan S.T. Khalatbari, a Denver business owner and the lead proponent of I-300:

“We are truly grateful to the people of Denver for approving this sensible measure to allow social cannabis use in the city. This is a victory for cannabis consumers who, like alcohol consumers, simply want the option to enjoy cannabis in social settings. It is also a victory for the city of Denver, its diverse neighborhoods and those who don't consume cannabis, as it will reduce the likelihood that adults will resort to consuming in public.

“We are proud that we included provisions in the measure that give communities the opportunity to provide input into the process and requires their support when applying for a permit. This is a thoughtfully drafted law that will be good for consumers and good for our city. We're excited to work with our city departments, neighborhood organizations, business owners and residents to ensure this implementation occurs swiftly and in a manner that is considerate of all stakeholders.”


Founded in 1995, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is the nation’s leading cannabis policy reform organization. MPP has played a central role in passing dozens of cannabis policy reforms in states across the country, including 10 successful cannabis legalization campaigns, and also works to advance federal reforms.

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