City threatens Colorado Symphony Orchestra over pot-friendly concerts


Members of the CSO perform. (Credit: CSO)

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DENVER — The Colorado Symphony Orchestra has been exploring progressive ways to attract patrons recently. But a series of pot-themed concerts is taking things too far, according to the City of Denver.

The CSO drew international attention last week when it announced Classically Cannabis: The High Note Series at the Space Gallery. The upcoming three-concert series would allow attendees to bring their own marijuana to enjoy on an external patio during the show.

But city officials are threatening legal action if the CSO doesn’t call off the plan, the Denver Post reported Thursday

In a letter delivered Thursday, city attorneys along with licensing and police officials argue that the events violate laws against public pot smoking or consumption of edible marijuana.

The letter warns that “We will exercise any and all options available to the City of Denver to halt the event.”

Addressed to CSO President Jerry Kern, it’s signed by Stacie Loucks, director of Denver’s Excise & Licenses Department. 

The debate comes as symphonies and operas across the country are struggling to make ends meet. The CSO seemed to recognize this in a statement on its website: 

“The Colorado Symphony acknowledges the economic impact of the emerging legal cannabis industry, which contributes an estimated $700,000 in sales-tax revenue to the City and County of Denver each month. (…) Through business sponsorship and sales revenue, events in the “Classically Cannabis” series are expected to generate significant revenue in support of the Colorado Symphony. Every dollar generated will support the orchestra’s year-round operations.”

For the fundraising events on May 23, July 18 and Aug. 15, the CSO has partnered with lead sponsor Ideal 420 Soils and two dispensaries, the Post reported. Attendees are asked to donate $75 minimum to hear small ensembles of musicians, taste food, and drink wine and beer. The gallery plans to have a smoking lounge on its enclosed patio.

Read more at the Denver Post

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