published Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Denver urges symphony to cancel cannabis concerts

DENVER — The city of Denver is urging the Colorado Symphony to call off a series of pot-themed fundraising concerts, saying that even though marijuana is now legal in the state, the drug cannot be smoked at events.

The newly announced series is strictly BYOC, or "bring your own cannabis," and is being sponsored by some of the state's burgeoning marijuana businesses.

It's set to begin May 23, with the first of three small fundraising performances at a Denver art gallery, which will feature a separate smoking area for attendees. It culminates with a fourth concert at the famed Red Rocks Amphitheater, where marijuana consumption is technically illegal, though often indulged in. Attendance is limited to ages 21 and over.

But the Denver city attorney's office issued letters Thursday warning the orchestra that the series could violate state laws against public consumption of marijuana. The city says the private art gallery may be considered a public space under state law.

The city warned that it may not be able to issue event permits that would allow the concerts to occur, The Denver Post reported.

The series is part of efforts by Colorado's lone professional orchestra to reach out to a younger, more diverse audience. It also allows the state's new cannabis industry to gain high-culture cred.

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