Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses will have to decide which group if any it will listen to as it finalizes its rules later this month. The city hopes to start reviewing and approving applications for social cannabis consumption areas and events starting in July.
Prior to a public hearing on the rules Tuesday, Molly Duplechian with the Denver Office of Marijuana Policy said the city received about 70 comments on the rules. More than half were supportive of what was proposed, Duplechian said.
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Here are some of the I-300 backers’ requests, broken down:
Allow businesses that sell alcohol to also allow cannabis use as long as they’re not being consumed at the same time in the same area.
Make the same allowances as above for events.
Clarify the restriction on having consumption areas near “other places intended for use primarily by persons under 18 years of age.”
Do not make government-issued IDs a requirement to enter consumption areas because consumption areas are already off-limits for people under 21. That way, if someone were obviously older than 21, they could enter the area without ID.
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Joe Boven, an active participant in the unfolding event, explains, “These citizens are deeply concerned about the proposed use of City Park Golf Course — which is designated parkland entitled to protection under Denver’s Charter — for purposes both contrary to the public good and park purposes.” They are further concerned that the city has hidden its intention to use a recent stormwater drainage fee increase to fund the Platte to Park Hill drainage system. That system proposes construction of a multi-acre stormwater detention facility in the Golf Course to ease drainage concerns and reduce Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) expenditures for “The Ditch.”
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Concerns from the roughly forty people who attended the meeting included the impact that 50,000 people plus stages and trucks would have on the golf course; noise, trash and safety issues; the revenue the city would make off the project; and the use of public land for private gain. In response to the safety concerns, Ehrlich said that each festival-goer would be given a wristband with a chip that would allow organizers to track where crowds were gathering.
The Overland Golf Course is within eyeshot of a soon-to-open 7,500-seat amphitheater, run by Levitt Pavilion Denver, a nonprofit that champions local and independent musicians and offers free concerts. But AEG and Superfly haven’t approached Levitt, because the venue’s 7,500 seats wouldn’t be enough for the music festival, said Levitt executive director Chris Zacher after the meeting.
Zacher grumbled that AEG hadn’t shown interest in the Overland Park community or his music venue until the company could find a way to exploit it for profit. “AEG gave Levitt zero dollars” in the half a decade that the project has been raising money, he noted.
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