Denver accepts tweaks to pot-themed concerts

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Associated Press

Posted on May 14, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 14 at 1:08 PM

DENVER (AP) — Denver is pleased with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra's efforts to align its bring-your-own-cannabis fundraising concerts with laws that authorize — but still regulate — marijuana use in Colorado, the city attorney said Wednesday.

"We are pleased the (symphony) revisited their planned events and worked to come into compliance with state and city laws," city attorney Scott Martinez said in a brief statement issued by Mayor Michael Hancock's office.

Earlier, Martinez had expressed concern that audiences were going to smoke marijuana in public, which is illegal even though selling and consuming marijuana has been legal under Colorado law since January. On Tuesday, the symphony said three events first announced in April, dubbed Classically Cannabis and scheduled to kick off later this month at a private Denver gallery, would be invitation-only. The symphony also removed information about the events from its website and is refunding tickets purchased already.

"From the beginning, our goals have been to support fundraising for the Colorado Symphony and to reach out to a culturally diverse audience," Jerome H. Kern, the symphony's chief executive office, said in a statement Tuesday.

The symphony says it expects to raise nearly $200,000 from Classically Cannabis. The first concert, on May 23, will feature a brass ensemble composed of symphony members. No program has been announced for any of the concerts, including a second on July 18 and the last on Aug. 15.

Jane West, whose Edible Events Co. is organizing the series and brought in marijuana companies as sponsors, has said concertgoers would have to be at least 21 years old and would be able to consume pot in a separate area at the gallery.

In addition to the three gallery shows, a Classically Cannabis concert is scheduled for September at Red Rocks, an amphitheater outside Denver where the symphony and pop and rock groups play. Symphony officials had stressed from the beginning that marijuana consumption would not be allowed at Red Rocks, which is owned by the city and county of Denver.

The Colorado symphony, like classical music groups across the country, has been struggling to shore up finances and attract a broader audience. Past efforts have included a concert featuring scores from science fiction movies, television series and video games that was billed as a tribute to the pop culture festival known as Comic Con.

The pot series isn't the first where symphony audience members can expect to have their IDs checked. The symphony's Beethoven and Brews events bring musicians to a trendy Denver hotel bar to play as local breweries offer tastings.

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