Update: Denver’s public-use cannabis initiative passes

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Denver voters have passed an initiative to allow cannabis consumption in public businesses such as bars and restaurants, overcoming initial predictions the measure faced an uphill battle.

As of 2 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Initiative 300 had received 53.31% of the approximately 302,000 votes that had been counted. The official election results won’t be certified until Nov. 22.

Denver Relief Consulting, the lead proponent of the initiative, declared victory, adding that it was a win for Denver adults who can “now gather socially and use products of their choice.”

The yes vote makes 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 on Nov. 8.

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

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