DENVER (Reuters) - Supporters of a Denver ballot initiative to allow marijuana use at bars and other establishments have pulled the measure after city leaders and business groups agreed to discuss a compromise, the pro-pot group said on Thursday.
The Campaign for Limited Social Cannabis Use said it collected more than twice the number of signatures from registered voters to place the measure on the city ballot but agreed to hold off on putting it before voters in November.
“We believe in the language we put forward and that adults who consume cannabis deserve the same freedoms to congregate and socialize as those who consume alcohol,” the group’s spokesman, Mason Tvert, said in statement. “We were persuaded, however, by members of the political and business communities, who requested participation in this process.”
In 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington legalized the recreational use of marijuana by adults. Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia subsequently followed suit.
Under Colorado law, marijuana cannot be consumed in public, and some Denver business owners have barred its use on their premises out of concern they could face criminal or civil penalties.
Elected city leaders and other government officials, along with the Downtown Denver Partnership, an economic development organization, have agreed to participate in crafting a compromise.
Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks said he is “committed to working on a broadly acceptable solution.”
“This decision ensures we now have the time and ability to include interested stakeholders to reach consensus on this important issue,” Brooks said in a statement.
Tvert said allowing pot use at authorized businesses would decrease the number of people who use pot openly.
“There are people who come from out of town who have no legal place to consume marijuana,” Tvert said.
In a joint statement, the Colorado Restaurant Association and the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association said they are willing to work collaboratively on the issue.
“Our respective industries are committed to working with the proponents and the city to find a solution that reflects the interests and concerns of all stakeholders,” the statement said.
Tvert said the group collected more than 10,700 signatures and was set to submit the petitions this week. If a compromise cannot be reached, he said, the group will put the issue before city voters next year.
Dan Rowland, spokesman for the city’s marijuana policy agency, said the discussions will be “a large community conversation.”