Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mile High City tries to block classical cannabis concert series

The city of Denver, aided by a mostly compliant media, is trying to force the Colorado Symphony from holding a series of cannabis concerts.

 From the start, the symphony made it clear that there would be no marijuana smoking, or any other kind of weed consumption at the concerts.

 The only major news outlet to focus attention on the fact that the city is involved in negotiations with the symphony to renew a lease on Boettcher Hall, is Colorado Public Radio.

 Other media, who had hyped two recent deaths tied to marijuana use, have falsely claimed that marijuana would used at the concerts.

 “The Colorado Symphony is organizing a “Classically Cannabis” concert series. Guests are invited to bring their own marijuana and consume it during the performances,” CBS affiliate KCNC continues to report on its website.

 The concert series, like much of the state, is aimed at raising funds for the symphony, which is struggling financially like most in the industry.

 The idea was that concert goers who like marijuana could attend a function at a private club before attending the performances.

 The symphony website, in announcing the concerts, in an FAQ, said no consumption or sale of marijuana will be tolerated at concerts.

 “Consumption of cannabis is illegal at both Boettcher Concert Hall and Red Rocks Amphitheater, and use will continue to be prohibited at all Colorado Symphony performances that are open to the public.”

 Ensembles from the orchestra will perform at the pre-concert events at the Space Gallery. Any consumption of marijuana at these gatherings will be on an outside patio, and orchestra members will not be exposed to any marijuana smoke.

 The symphony is walking a tightrope here. Colorado law only permits marijuana consumption in private.

 The city, in a claim that ignores a hundred years of Colorado law, says the events could be considered public. State law permits, for example, non-profit groups like the symphony to provide liquor at events that are not open to the public.

 The symphony has said it is trying to work with the city, both on the marijuana dispute on the lease on the Boetcher concert hall. The symphony said it will have to determine whether signing a new lease is the best deal, and whether it can accept that a proposed renovation would mean it has to find another venue for a year.

On its website the symphony defends the partnership with the marijuana industry.

 “The CSO serves the wonderfully diverse population of our growing, changing state. Our portfolio of business partners and sponsors also reflects the diverse tastes and demographics of Colorado: Sponsors include major corporations, small businesses, breweries, sports franchises and media outlets. The organization has an open-door policy to legitimate, legal businesses that support its mission, including legal cannabis businesses in Colorado,” the website says.

 Jerome H. Kern, the chief executive of the Colorado Symphony, said the symphony was seriously considering the questions raised by the city.

 “When the Colorado Symphony accepted support from the legal cannabis industry — as a means of supporting our financial operations and connecting with a culturally diverse audience — we believed we did so in full compliance with the law. We’re confident that any questions can be resolved quickly,” Kern said in a statement.

PolicyMic reports that in the first quarter of the year legal marijuana, both recreational and medicinal, brought in $12.6 million. The sales of recreational marijuana, only legal since Jan. 1, have been rising each month and reached $1.89 million in March.

The New York Times, in a story headlined “Pass the Bong, and Tune Up the Berlioz” considers which composers should be considered for inclusion in the program.

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