Weed’s getting more legal-ish all the time. As you probably know, it’s all-the-way legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, and medically legal in another twenty-plus states. But with all that legal cheeba-cheefing going on, there still isn’t one jurisdiction where a cannabis lounge or public smoking area is legally permitted.

That might sound like a joke to people who live in some of those states mentioned above. It’s common for a pot shop in Colorado or a dispensary in California to have bongs and rigs sitting out on their counter ready to rip on. And that’s the problem.

Something as common as smoking cannabis in a public setting (especially a weed shop) should be regulated instead of outlawed, so as to prevent one random offender from getting in serious trouble for doing the same thing everyone else is.

The Denver chapter of NORML must be thinking along the same lines, as the group has just filed for an initiative to appear on the city’s ballot this year which would allow for legalizing cannabis clubs and special events in the city of Denver.

“Denver residents and visitors alike need places other than private homes to legally and responsibly enjoy legal marijuana with other adults,” said Jordan Person, executive director of Denver NORML, in a statement from the group issued Monday.

The rationale for allowing public cannabis consumption isn’t just ethical, but financial as well. Visiting marijuana tourists, who are currently pumping the city full of green cash in exchange for its green and hash, might be more inclined to visit or stay if they knew there was a place where they could legally consume their goods. No one wants to fly all the way to Denver just to have to sneak out back by the dumpsters to smoke a joint and then maybe get hassled by the po-po for doing it.

“This submission to city council is the first step,” Person said. “We’ll get feedback from the city, finalize the language, then start gathering signatures to put it on the ballot.”

If the initiative goes through, there would be some restrictions. No lounges would be able to sell their own cannabis products. So, if you wanted to super legal with your public weed consumption, you’d have to stop by the shop then jet down the street to your local marijuana club. Also, bars, nightclubs, and restaurants would be prohibited from proliferating their businesses into cannabis clubs.

“The city will be able to license and regulate private marijuana clubs and special events to ensure public health and safety,” Person said. “But we want to be sure that the regulations are reasonable and consumer-friendly.”

Parker Winship