Marijuana advocates in Denver want to ask voters to approve a ballot initiative that would allow marijuana consumption in commercial establishments, including bars and clubs, that meet certain guidelines. (Hyoung Chang, Denver Post file)

Editorial: Vaping in bars, smoking on rooftops? Public pot plan goes too far

Marijuana advocates in Denver have enjoyed a tremendous amount of public support over the past decade, but they may be pushing their luck with the latest consumption proposal

Marijuana advocates in Denver have enjoyed a tremendous amount of public support over the past decade, but they may be pushing their luck with the latest proposal.

Backers want to ask voters to approve a ballot initiative that would allow marijuana consumption in commercial establishments, including bars and clubs, that meet certain guidelines.

“We’re confident that voters will agree that adults should be able to use marijuana socially in private venues when around other adults,” said proponent Mason Tvert.

“Overconfident” may be a better description.

Denver has seen an explosion in marijuana businesses since recreational use was legalized. But the city has been adamant that public consumption not be permitted, resulting in numerous raids of private cannabis clubs.

Pot advocates, however, aren’t pushing for private clubs — which is something that could possibly generate support. They want a more questionable approach, giving any business where only adults are allowed the ability to designate areas for pot use.

There would be no further regulation. Neighbors would have no recourse. And what about when such businesses are near schools, child care facilities or drug treatment centers?

Would the city be able to put zoning restrictions or licensing requirements on the adult-use businesses?

Backers are expected to submit the ballot question to the clerk’s office for approval and then must gather 4,700 signatures by Sept. 3 to get it on November’s ballot.

What they propose, however, could violate the state law against public marijuana consumption, which defines “public” as including private property to which “a substantial number of the public has access.”

A ballot initiative at least brings this discussion into the public forum, where it belongs. But we bet Denver residents will see this measure as going too far, and draw the line against such an expansive law.

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This story was first published on DenverPost.com