The Colorado Symphony should be allowed to move forward with its "Classically Cannabis" series, says our fine arts writer. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)

Opinion: The Symphony’s duet with pot should be allowed, encouraged

One of legal pot's benefits should be the appreciation of art and allowing the artistic expression it inspires, especially before an audience gathered as a community, peacefully and with good intentions

If marijuana is legal, and it is constitutionally in Colorado, then what is its highest and best use?

As medicine? Well maybe, and 20-plus states have established that as real enough to make pot available to cancer patients and others suffering from fatal or chronic ailments.

As a form of recreation? Cheers to that; people are allowed to have fun.

How about as tool for raising public revenues — sales tax moneys that allow governments to build schools, pave roads, pay police officers? All worthy causes.

But whatever list you make for pot’s benefits, it reasonably ought to include fostering the appreciation of art and allowing the artistic expression it inspires, especially before an audience gathered as a community, peacefully and with good intentions.

That is exactly what the Colorado Symphony Orchestra proposed to do with its “Classically Cannabis” concert series.

And that is exactly what the Hancock administration is stopping it from doing by warning the CSO that it will likely be breaking the law if the concerts go forward. It’s not a judge’s interpretation of the marijuana regulations, but it is the administration’s, and that’s enough to scare all those law-breaking second violinists from letting their bows hit the strings.


Conan O’Brien: “The orchestra will be playing Beethoven’s 420 Symphony” (video)


A lot of people don’t like that marijuana is legal, and that’s just fine. But those who are in denial of the new reality aren’t doing anyone a favor — not even themselves.

What does it mean for marijuana to be legal if not to be a part of what the orchestra proposed? Concerts where people could come enjoy the finest of fine of arts, use pot safely in the presence of others, no secrets, no stigma.

The CSO had scheduled three concerts just like that; small, intimate, bring-your-own gatherings starting May 23 at the Space Gallery in Denver’s Santa Fe arts district.

There were additional benefits to this these events beyond the artistic expression. These concerts could have raised as much as $100,000 for a cultural treasure, a nonprofit that has served decade after decade, a symbol of how cultured we can be, an employer of dozens and dozens of highly trained professionals.


What do these events feel like? Read our review of a past Edible Events night out, which our critic called “by far one of the swankiest events I’ve attended in my five years in the marijuana business, for better or for worse”


The Colorado Symphony Orchestra is an important economic tool for Denver, bringing nearly 200,000 people downtown every year. Audiences spend a lot of money in restaurants, hotels and public parking lots. No other entity equals the influence and dollar power of the orchestra’s audience.

The CSO needs money to survive, and the cannabis concerts were intended to help it stay in business.

But the city administration has effectively stopped the show, saying they violate rules that prevent marijuana consumption in “public.”

The murky question, of course, is what does “public” mean?

Read more on why the Symphony’s duet with the pot industry should be allowed, encouraged