DENVER APRIL 19: Robin Goldfarb from Flagstone, TX is smoking marijuana during 420 Rally weekend in Civic Center ParkDenver, Colorado. April 19. 2014. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Getting high on the town: The man pushing for social pot use in Denver talks details

Adults have been able to purchase cannabis in Denver since Jan. 1, 2014, but they can only consume those products in very specific private places.

Kayvan Khalatbari is leading the charge to change that.

Khalatbari, a founding partner of Denver Relief Consulting, is the lead proponent for the Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program — a social pot use measure that just landed on Denver’s November ballot.

Khalatbari sits down with Cannabist editor-in-chief Ricardo Baca on The Cannabist Show to describe what the proposed initiative entails and the efforts put forth to develop it.

“It’s a tourist issue; but it’s also a resident issue, when you think about the fact that a lot of people live in HOA- or landlord-controlled properties that don’t allow the use on-site,” he says. “There’s folks that, veterans for instance, that live in federal housing or a lot of these places that disallow that use on-site.”

Those types of people then are consuming in places where they shouldn’t: in public spaces, on sidewalks and in parks, he says.

“When we talk about folks wanting to keep cannabis away from children, I would hope that they’d be in support of this, understanding that the only way that it’s going to get off the streets and out of parks and away from kids, is to take it inside and into regulated spaces,” he says.

The initiative is an iteration of a proposed measure put forth — and eventually pulled — last year, he says, adding that businesses and community members gave feedback that they did not have enough of a say. Since that time, backers of this year’s social use initiative have sat down with neighborhood groups and businesses to iron out issues, he says.

One of the key requirements of this year’s proposed pilot program is for the business or entity interested in including a consumption area — for a matter of hours, a couple of days or up to a year — to receive approval from their respective city-designated neighborhood groups or business improvement districts.

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