Denver’s public-use MJ initiative poised to pass by narrow margin

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Denver’s vote to allow cannabis consumption in public businesses, including bars and restaurants, appears poised for passage, overcoming initial predictions that the initiative faced an uphill battle.

As of 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time Friday, Initiative 300 had received 53% of the approximately 273,000 votes that had been counted. A representative of the Denver County Clerk’s office said the the vote tally was still being finalized, and the election results won’t be certified until later this month, on Nov. 22.

The yes vote would make the Mile High City the first of its kind to approve public-use permits, which would require participating businesses to obtain approval from a local neighborhood organization. Supporters said the initiative would help curb a potential loss of cannabis tourists to California and Nevada, both of which approved recreational cannabis this week.

The public-use initiative received solid voter support despite mixed feelings from the marijuana community, which had not lined up publicly to back the measure.

Initiative 300 would establish a four-year pilot program to permit consumption in any number of businesses, provided neighborhood groups support a business owner’s application. The measure wouldn’t allow marijuana stores to offer on-site consumption, however.