Colorado's pot paradox: Marijuana is legal, but it's tough to find a place to consume it

Tourists who visit Denver for the marijuana quickly discover that hotels, bars and restaurants usually ban it. Some end up smoking pot in their rental cars or in a handful of legalized “cannabis clubs” or marijuana-friendly bed and breakfasts.

“You have seen a dramatic rise in arrests in Colorado for public consumption of pot. People are using it in the parks and sidewalks where they shouldn’t,” said Kayvan Khalatbari, co-owner of Denver Relief Consulting, who campaigned in favor of the initiative. “Our hope is that [Initiative 300] will reduce public consumption.”

He also thinks it will open up new venues for marijuana use in places such as art galleries and massage therapy businesses.

Two years ago, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra tried to hold a public fundraising event in Denver called “Classically Cannabis” with attendees invited to bring their own pot. The orchestra switched the event to a private affair after the city warned that public consumption of marijuana was illegal.

While that sort of event will likely be easier to organize now, the new law comes with considerable caveats.