Can The Hip-Hop Collective Win in America’s New Amsterdam?

dark-kermitDenver is the first city in the United States to legalize the public consumption of cannabis. In an historic vote on November 8, Denver citizens approved Initiative 300 by a measure of 21,120 votes (or 6.8%). 300 will designate neighborhood sanctioned “pot spots” where enthusiasts and cannabis tourists can chief the kief.  Currently, tourists account for 17% of recreational sales providing a $100 Million dollar boost to the local economy. How will this New Amsterdam deal with permit allocation & crime deterrence?

Yes, this sounds like a great enterprising opportunity to budding entrepreneurs and big green business execs. They stand to gain a great deal when Denver begins issuing permits in late January or early February 2017. So what types of venues will we see hosting BYOC events? It’s undeniable what Hip-Hop has done for Mary Jane culture. Many of us know firsthand what a role the groundation ritual plays in the Hip-Hop collective. Creatives around the world preach on the benefits of the herb. Be it a studio session, an art demo or simply vibing out; enthusiasts everywhere attest to marijuana’s influence on creativity. Unfortunately, we know all too well lopsided racial disparities highlighted by the Drug War.

Prior to legalization, marijuana arrests accounted for up to 60% of all drug arrests in Colorado. Nationally, people under age 29 accounted for approximately 77% of ganja related arrests. After legalization minorities continued to be over represented in arrests per capita. One would think, as many reports show, that legalization is taking a huge bite out of discrimination. However, post legalization, marijuana related arrests for Black and Latino juveniles jumped 58% and 29% respectively. It’s become difficult to tag this new policy as progress.

In the wake of another green industry boom for Denver. Cannabis pioneers wonder how free this new style will be for the culture. Will your open mic establishment be treated like your local coffee shop or yoga studio? Will some subcultures be more welcome than others? This public consumption pilot program essentially implements a peer review process for approval. This is a serves as an icebreaker between the community and planned establishments. While the hippy gang has broken through yet another ceiling. This blooming community wonders  whether the state will be able to break old habits.

 

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