Article by Amanda Pfeffer, CBC News
As the City of Ottawa begins to ponder its options for regulating marijuana — including an outright ban on public consumption of the drug — Denver, Colo., is setting the stage for legal smoking rooms, and at least one pot advocate there is recommending this city loosen up.
Denver is about to become the first jurisdiction in North America to license businesses for the public consumption of marijuana, long considered a glaring policy hole in Colorado’s relatively liberal pot laws.
“It’s time to end that feeling of shame,” said Taylor Rosean, who’s working with a group applying to open a new business in downtown Denver called “Vape and Play,” where patrons will be able to consume marijuana using cannabis vaporizers.
When pot became legal in Colorado in 2014, Denver’s bylaws forbade its smoking in public spaces, including parks. The regulations also prevented tourists, renters and some condo owners from smoking marijuana legally, anywhere.
Rosean said that forced people “in the shadows” to smoke, and he’s recommending Ottawa learn from his city’s mistakes and start its legal pot regime off on the right foot.
“You can’t half-legalize something,” said Rosean. “You’re just going to have an increase in community friction, citations and illegal public consumption.”
Late Monday afternoon Ottawa’s chief medical officer, Isra Levy, will table his recommendations for how the city should approach the impending legalizion of marijuana.