Larimer Square in downtown Denver at twilight.

Geoff Livingston

Denver, Colorado officials are expected to begin accepting public-use license applications by the end of the month; however the pilot program might not take off due to restrictions on what kinds of businesses can qualify for the licenses and where they can be located, according to an Associated Press report. The regulations do not permit establishments to sell cannabis products but allow customers to bring their own.

Under the rules, any business with a liquor license cannot apply for a public-use permit, and dispensaries are prohibited from allowing consumption on store premises. Would-be cannabis clubs or businesses wishing to obtain a license must be located twice the distance from schools – or places where children congregate, such as playgrounds – as liquor stores. Neighborhood groups must also agree to allow the club or license before it is opened or issued. Applying for a license costs $1,000 and another $1,000 annually to maintain.

Kayvan Khalatbari, a Denver cannabis consultant who helped campaign for the social-use initiative, has sued the state’s liquor authorities over the ban on allowing cannabis and alcohol at the same place. He pointed to the fact that people are allowed to get “hammered in public” on “moronic bike bars” that are permitted to ride past schools and churches but cannabis consumers don’t have “a safer choice” despite the will of the voters who passed the initiative.

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