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Photo ©Colorado Symphony

Photo ©Colorado Symphony

Last week on this blog I wrote about the Colorado Symphony’s plans to present a concert series called “Classically Cannabis: The High Note Series.” Three bring-your-own pot concerts have been scheduled to take place at the Space Gallery in Denver beginning on May 23. A fourth event has been scheduled to take place in September at the Red Rocks Amphitheater, where smoking grass is not permitted.

Organized by a company called Edible Events and sponsored by marijuana-related businesses, the series was conceived as an audience-engagement initiative that would serve as a fundraising campaign for the orchestra.

Public officials in Denver, though, have intervened.

According to The Denver Post, “the CSO … stopped selling tickets to the high-profile series in response to a letter from the city of Denver warning that the events could run afoul of regulations forbidding marijuana consumption ‘openly and publicly in a manner that endangers others.’ Instead, concerts now will be open only to ‘a closed list of VIP guests’ managed by the concert’s promoter, Edible Events, according to a statement from the CSO.”

As a result, the orchestra’s fundraising initiative obviously won’t have the same audience-engagement element that it would have had as a series of public events.

press release issued late last month by the orchestra announcing the Space Gallery events indicated that “Classically Cannabis: The High Note Series is a BYOC-friendly experience for music lovers, featuring performances by Colorado Symphony ensembles. … The Space Gallery events are being held on private property and are restricted to adults 21 years of age or older.”

Yesterday, the orchestra issued a statement that reads, in part: “Beginning with an announcement on April 28, the Colorado Symphony intended all Classically Cannabis to be private fundraising events. When the Colorado Symphony learned of the City of Denver’s concerns about the perceived public nature of the event series, and following widespread media coverage generated by the events, we contacted the Denver City Attorney seeking clarification and a modified approach to be in compliance with the City’s interpretation of the laws.”

The Colorado Symphony’s CEO, Jerome Kern, was quoted in the above-mentioned Denver Post article as saying, “The symphony does not want to be the poster child for determining the distinction between public and private.”

— David Brensilver

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