Lonely Planet Writer

Is Denver the new Amsterdam? New laws allow marijuana use in coffee shops

Denver might soon start looking a little more like Amsterdam. This Friday, businesses will be able to apply for licences that would permit patrons to use pot in public spaces like coffee shops or yoga studios.

New marijuana laws rolled out in Denver
New marijuana laws rolled out in Denver Image by Getty Images

There are a few restrictions. Establishments that sell alcohol are blocked from allowing marijuana use, and public pot use can’t occur near schools. Smokers still have to go outside, in line with a longstanding ordinance banning smoking in public areas (edibles can be consumed in licenced businesses).

Licenced businesses also can’t actually sell cannabis, so patrons must bring their own. But an open-use pot club right next to a dispensary was floated at a recent meeting. Critics point out that this means businesses would have no control over how much people are consuming. The licences cost $2000 a year.

The result of a narrowly passed November ‘social use’ measure, the new licences are the latest step in Colorado’s experiment with recreational marijuana. Colorado was the first state in the US to not only decriminalise recreational marijuana but put in place regulations allowing its sale at dispensaries.

The state legislature is considering a bill allowing pot clubs across all of Colorado, but its future is uncertain despite bipartisan support.

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