Denver officials issued a warning to the Colorado Symphony on Thursday: Voluntarily end their marijuana-friendly events or be shut down.
Last week the symphony announced that three fundraising concerts would allow patrons to bring their own marijuana. During these concerts, aptly named “Classically Cannabis: The High Note series” concert-goers would be allowed to smoke marijuana on an enclosed patio of a private art gallery. The event was designed to attract a younger crowd to an event that has a traditionally older audience and to help raise funds. According to the LA Times, on the first day of the $75 ticket sales, 65 tickets were sold.
But because the event could “illegally promote public consumption of pot” the symphony president received a letter from the Department of Excise and Licenses saying the series could violate city and state law. The letter stated that all business owners and event organizers would be held responsible for any violations they find if they are forced to halt the event. Any attendees would also face penalties if they are found to have consumed or smoked marijuana in public.
Though the symphony plans to hold the event at the Space Gallery, the law could consider the space to be a public place, as museums and theaters are considered by law.
Despite this, the symphony is confident that through working with their legal team, they will resolve the issue in time for the series to begin. They also stated, for the record, that when they accepted the legal marijuana industry’s sponsorship for the event, they believed they were in compliance with the law.
However, the same amendment that made marijuana legal in Colorado also made public use illegal. In addition, the ordinance that governs the retail sale of marijuana has banned businesses that are not in the marijuana industry from profiting or benefitting from marijuana consumption.