The city of Denver is threatening to shut down “bring your own cannabis” concerts by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra if the orchestra doesn’t cancel them itself, claiming they promote public pot consumption and therefore violate the law.
The orchestra planned three ensemble events at a private art gallery in which attendees were encouraged to bring pot to smoke on an enclosed outdoor patio before the performance. The series was titled “Classically Cannabis: The High Note Series” and was intended to broaden the symphony’s audience.
The concerts were sponsored by several marijuana businesses.
“This partnership is part of an overall effort to reach out to every segment of our community,” symphony CEO Jerome Kern said in a statement to 7News when the concerts were first announced. “These businesses have expressed a willingness to support the Colorado Symphony’s mission. Our doors are open to any legal, legitimate business that wants to help.”
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But Denver disagrees that the events would be legal, arguing in a letter delivered to the symphony on Thursday that the art gallery could be considered a public space, since anyone can attend.
If the concerts aren’t called off, “We will exercise any and all options available to the City of Denver to halt the event,” the letter states, according to the Denver Post. The letter was prepared by cops and city lawyers, the paper reported.
The symphony, however, claims on its website that the events are strictly private.
“Curated by Edible Events Co., all Classically Cannabis events are private, reserved events,” the notice reads. “No one will be admitted that is not on the guest list. Attendees must show proof of age and be age 21 and up. Please bring a valid ID.”
Minimum donations to attend are $75 and tickets include alcohol and hors d’ouevres.
Colorado’s Amendment 64, passed in 2012, legalized the use, possession, cultivation and sale of marijuana by adults, but specifically prohibited its public consumption.
The cannabis-themed concerts were met with mixed reactions from the symphony’s fans, with some appalled at the idea of mixing classical music with marijuana consumption. Others praised the idea as an innovative way to both broaden the reach of the arts and tap into a potentially lucrative source of sponsorship.
The symphony itself, which often performs where alcohol is served and consumed, called it “a logical next step since the voters of Colorado have chosen to regulate marijuana like alcohol.”
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