Colorado pot-themed concerts will be offered as private events

DENVER Tue May 13, 2014 6:21pm EDT

DENVER (Reuters) - The Colorado Symphony said on Tuesday it will offer its planned bring-your-own marijuana concert series in Denver as private, invitation-only events so as not to run afoul of laws barring the public use of pot.

The symphony said this month it was organizing three pot-themed concerts this summer at a Denver art gallery under the banner "Classically Cannabis: The High Note Series."

The series was to be sponsored by businesses from Colorado’s legal marijuana industry and concert-goers would be invited to consume marijuana at an outdoor patio.

But the event has sparked objections from officials in Colorado, which is one of two U.S. states, along with Washington, that allow the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. The first retail pot stores opened in Colorado in January, but public consumption of cannabis remains illegal.

Last week, Denver's director of excise and licenses, Stacie Loucks, sent a letter to symphony executives saying the city would use "any and all options" to halt the event.

The symphony said in a statement that it has removed all public references to the cannabis events from its website and will refund money to people who bought tickets to the pot concerts.

"After consultation with the city of Denver as well as our legal advisers, the Colorado Symphony announces that Classically Cannabis will launch with a private fundraising event," the statement said.

(Editing by Edith Honan and Steve Orlofsky)

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