Although her group's marijuana initiative won't be voted on in November, "We’re not going to stop,” says Denver NORML director Jordan Person. She says private clubs are the better solution to the need for places where people, including tourists, can consume marijuana together. Pictured: In this June 11, 2016 photo, Robert Cleary, left, a marijuana reform advocate with the group NORML, talks with passersby, gathering signatures on a petition to get a pot club initiative on the ballot. (Brennan Linsley, The Associated Press)

Pot clubs plan by Denver NORML won’t make ballot

One of two potential citywide initiatives aimed at allowing the social use of marijuana has failed to make the ballot after falling short in verified petition signatures, the Denver Elections Division said Monday.

That means voters citywide won’t get a chance in the Nov. 8 election to allow private marijuana clubs, which some other Colorado cities and towns have sanctioned. But they still might have the option of voting for a broader measure that would legalize the social use of cannabis products in some regular businesses, such as bars or cafes or even yoga studios. Permit-seekers would have to win the backing of a neighborhood group.

The latter measure, called the Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Initiative, still is having its petition signatures verified. Denver Elections spokesman Alton Dillard said the verification process for that measure should be complete by next week.

For its private clubs measure — dubbed the Responsible Use Denver initiative — the Denver chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) turned in more than 7,500 signatures, Dillard said. An initiative requires 4,726 valid signatures from registered Denver voters to make the ballot.

But workers verified just 2,987 as eligible. The rest came from voters registered outside Denver County or from people who weren’t registered voters.

The remaining proposed ballot measure has a little more room for error. Backers including Kayvan Khalatbari of Denver Relief Consulting said they filed petitions containing 10,800 signatures.

Jordan Person, Denver NORML’s chapter director, said she was surprised by the number of rejected signatures for the group’s private clubs initiative, adding that it underlined the need for more voter registration drives.

In the meantime, she said, she still plans to speak to a City Council committee about the issue soon.

“You know, we’re not going to stop,” she said, arguing that private clubs are the better solution to the need for places where people, including tourists, can consume marijuana together. “We’ve done so much in the year that we’ve been a chapter. I’m just proud so everyone’s efforts.”

Earlier Monday, the Colorado secretary of state announced that two proposed statewide anti-fracking ballot measures failed to make the ballot, also because of insufficient signatures.

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