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Denver Campaign For Limited Social Cannabis Use To Withdraw Initiative


campaign for limited social cannabis use denverThere has been a campaign underway that would legalize limited social cannabis use in Denver. Everything appeared to be a go, but I just received the below message from Vicente Sederberg LLC (which is helping lead the campaign) which states that the campaign is withdrawing the initiative. See the message I received below:

Just two months ago, the Campaign for Limited Social Cannabis Use launched a petition drive to qualify an initiative for the November ballot in Denver. The goal of the campaign was to change the laws in the city so that cannabis consumers could congregate and enjoy cannabis socially, just as alcohol consumers do freely. Those of us associated with the campaign were frustrated that this issue was not being addressed by city leaders and wanted to push the issue forward.

Now, thanks to the generosity of some of our friends and the hard work of others to gather signatures from Denver voters, we have succeeded. The issue is on the collective radar of both city officials and Denver business leaders. Campaign proponents have had more productive conversations with city leaders about social use in the last two weeks than in the previous 18 months combined!

This leads us to what many may consider at first blush to be unusual news: Later today, the campaign will be formally withdrawing the ballot initiative.

This is not a decision that was made lightly. As we have noted in the past, this campaign was driven by the same spirit and passion that drove SAFER’s successful legalization initiative in Denver in 2005, the MPP-backed Amendment 64 campaign in 2012, and Sensible Colorado’s efforts to expand the medical marijuana system in all the years in between. There is certainly no fear, as far as campaign leaders are concerned, in pushing the envelope and taking matters to the voters.

But conversations over the past few weeks have convinced campaign leaders that there is a sincere desire on the part of city leaders to address this issue in a collaborative manner. And these are not just closed-door assurances. As you can see in the Denver Post today, city officials and prominent business groups have been willing to express publicly their commitment to finding a workable solution to this issue. Based on this show of good faith, campaign leaders were willing to forego a contentious ballot initiative fight in order to give the collaborative process a shot. We are optimistic about these discussions, but also know that we can return to the ballot in November 2016 – when the electorate will be far more favorable to our cause – if they do not result in an acceptable outcome.

For those of you who may be disappointed by today’s news, we hope that you appreciate the progress we have made. This discussion needed to be advanced and we would not be where we are today if we had not invested the time, energy, and resources in qualifying the initiative for the ballot.

Today is not the end of a campaign; it is a transition from a ballot initiative process to a lobbying effort. We need your support and will keep you informed about how you can help.


– The VS team


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Johnny Green


  1. Yes. I’ve seen that press release, too. That still doesn’t explain why the initiative was pulled off when it would likely have won.

    Some questions would be:

    * What was objectionable about the initiative to the city?

    * Would the city have fought against implementing the voter-passed initiative, and what could they have done to resist it?

    * What will the ‘compromise’ arrangement look like?

  2. You are probably right about the wine. Here’s what Mason Tvert said in an email I received today:

    “Ultimately, the campaign arrived at the decision after engaging in several productive discussions with city council members, the city attorney, a representative from the mayor’s office, and leaders of several major business organizations, including the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, the Colorado Restaurant
    Association, and the Downtown Denver Partnership.

    Initiative backers are hopeful that the collaboration will produce a sensible social use law that the city is willing and able to implement. If it does not, they will have the option of putting one on the ballot during the 2016 presidential election, when increased voter turnout will create a more favorable electorate compared to
    this year.”

  3. Hmm. What could possibly have been wrong with having an outdoor marijuana smoking section? Customers would be affected less than they would by drinking the house wine.

    I guess we’ll know eventually.

  4. It seems like the cannabis community is trying to work with Denver to come up with a solution that is acceptable to all parties. The Colorado restaurant industry was opposed to this measure, for whatever reason.

  5. There seems to be something missing from the explanation. It was looking like this measure would have had little problem in passing. – What would have been wrong with letting it continue and win?

  6. A few minutes after this announcement a City of Denver official was whining about the $18,000 the city had already spent on processing the petition, only to have it withdrawn. Seriously, they are worried about $18K when the City and County of Denver is raking in bushels of tax dollars every day on cannabis sales? Give me a break.

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