Beth Bice of Charlotte, N.C., smokes a joint on the bus during a marijuana tour hosted by My 420 Tours in Denver on Dec. 6, 2014. (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)

Denver’s social marijuana use panel is officially selected. Here’s who made the cut

City officials will figure out how to implement Initiative 300, the voter-passed Denver social marijuana use ballot measure, with help from a group that includes a backer, a fervent opponent, a neighborhood activist and an academic who called the new law “pretty innovative.”

The Department of Excise and Licenses announced the composition of the 20-member Social Consumption Advisory Committee on Thursday. It will begin meeting Jan. 18.

Among its tasks is to help city officials sketch out how the city’s first-of-its-kind social marijuana use permit program will work. The committee also will advise officials on the creation of new regulations for the permits.

Initiative 300, approved by 53.6 percent of Denver voters on Nov. 8, allows businesses to seek permits allowing them to create consumption areas for customers older than 21 who bring their own pot or cannabis products. Businesses with marijuana or liquor licenses will be ineligible because of state laws and regulations, but other kinds of businesses could apply — as long as they obtain support from a local neighborhood or business organization. They would have to adhere to the indoor smoking ban but allow use outdoors if they meet certain conditions.

Denver must make applications for the new consumption area permits available by Jan. 21 under the initiative, but officials have said they likely won’t begin accepting those applications until this summer.

The co-chairs of the new advisory committee are Denver licensing director Ashley Kilroy and Molly Duplechian from the city’s Office of Marijuana Policy. The other city officials on the panel are City Council members Kendra Black and Mary Beth Susman, Deputy Chief David Quiñones from Denver police and Marley Bordovsky from the code enforcement section of the City Attorney’s Office.

Emmett Reistroffer, a policy consultant at Denver Relief Consulting who helped lead the Yes on 300 campaign, will be joined by Rachel O’Bryan, who managed the anti-Initiative 300 group Protect Denver’s Atmosphere.

Others of note include University of Denver law professor Sam Kamin, an expert on legal marijuana regulation who called Initiative 300 innovative in a recent Denver Post story, and Margie Valdez from Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation. She has been critical of Initiative 300 because it allows businesses to seek support from business improvement districts in addition to city-registered neighborhood associations.

Here are the other members of the advisory committee:

  • Community representatives Jude Del Hierro and Aubrey Lavizzo
  • Business representative Dan Landes, owner of City, O’ City restaurant
  • Event planning representative Kobi Waldfogel from Lighthouse Cannabis Project
  • Kristi Kelly, interim executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group
  • Fran Lanzer, state executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving
  • Amber Leytem, Healthy Schools Program manager for Denver Public Schools
  • Karin McGowan, deputy director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Maureen McNamara, founder of Cannabis Trainers
  • Sonia Riggs, president and CEO of  the Colorado Restaurant Association

Besides the Jan. 18 kick-off gathering, the advisory committee also has meetings set for Feb. 8 and Feb. 22. A news release announcing the committee’s makeup says it likely will meet six to eight times this year.

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