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The Denver City Council is considering a proposed ordinance to allow marijuana smoking and vaping indoors in certain establishments in Denver to people 21 years or older. This proposal seems not only outrageous, but a step backward from all the progress that has been made in terms of protecting citizens’ rights to breathe clean air indoors in public places.

Just like tobacco, secondhand marijuana smoke or vapors emit many carcinogenic and toxic chemicals that cause health problems. That is why we have laws regulating where people can smoke or vape in Colorado.  It should be no different for marijuana. There are many alternatives to smoking marijuana that can be used.   

If this proposal passes, a new, unprotected class of workers and others who need to enter those establishments will emerge. Studies have shown that smoke transgresses walls and the smoke emitted from these establishment would penetrate neighboring businesses. 

I am not against the legalization or use of marijuana nor vaping. However, when those practices affect the health of others, that is where it becomes a problem. If people want to smoke marijuana they can do so in their homes, though I am against this in multi-unit housing for the reasons stated above.

This proposed ordinance is not progressive, it is backwards.

I am glad to hear that some communities in Colorado are opting to not allow these types of establishments to open up, and I hope Denver follows suit. Communities that GASP (Group to Alleviate Secondhand Smoke Pollution) knows are currently considering allowing “hospitality” licenses include Denver, Boulder and Nederland. GASP has communicated their concerns about allowing marijuana smoking and vaping in public places to all locally elected officials. GASP’s position is, if they want to allow smoking marijuana or vaping outside and within the guidelines of the Clean Indoor Air Act (25 feet away from any entrance) and not visible to the public, they will not oppose it. For more information about GASP’s position about the dangers of secondhand marijuana smoke or vape, visit smokeissmoke.com.

There is abundant research showing the ill effects of marijuana secondhand smoke, and I encourage all to voice their opposition to passing an ordinance allowing marijuana smoking and vaping in certain establishments in Denver by contacting the Denver City Council. 

Raquel Habib


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