Around the world, the marijuana legalization movement is gaining unprecedented traction from the Americas and Europe to South America and beyond. In the land of late marijuana evangelist Bob Marley, politicians are huddling to discuss methods for easing Jamaica’s cannabis laws. Within one of the world’s top-producing nations of hashish, the two leading Moroccan political parties are brainstorming ways to legalize marijuana cultivation. In Mexico City, politicians are planning to let stores sell marijuana across the metropolis ravaged by cartels. And, the small country of Uruguay in South America is making news by becoming the first to approve national marijuana legalization.
Amid the global movement towards legalizing cannabis, Denver officials have announced their trip to talk with various European leaders in London and Amsterdam about marijuana and airport cities as a result of metropolitan growth. As a nod to the successful marijuana efforts in Colorado, the mayor Michael Hancock, DIA manager Kim Day, executive director Paul Washington, and five other officials have been invited on this trip from Monday through April 11th. With all expenses covered by the DIA and the British Consulate, this is marked as the first official trip to the United Kingdom by a Denver mayor since 1999.
According to Paul Washington, the focus of the trip to London will be placed on discussing innovation, infrastructure, and energy to explore the ways that the city officials have helped to make Denver grow exponentially over the last decade. With the Interstate 70 re-design, Brighton Boulevard, and development along the South Platte River in the near future, Washington declares that the trip will be essential to make smart investment choices and ease the enormous pressure being placed on the city’s infrastructure.
In particular, Denver officials are interested in learning about London’s new business incubator-style in the “Tech City” initiative. Although Denver has been actively participating in helping to finance the development of innovative centers across the city, officials think that utilizing the Tech City initiative will help to accelerate capital for new companies in the metropolis. Government officials in London have also expressed an interest in how Denver has moved its international airport from landlocked Stapleton to land on the east to find new ways to expand London Heathrow Airport.
Amsterdam has also been included in the trip’s itinerary because Denver is focused on pushing the development of an airport city on DIA property in an effort to draw local businesses into the area within close proximity to the airport’s daily influx of passengers. Officials have explained that Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is a significantly more plausible model for an airport city than many of the other airports the DIA spokespeople have already visited in Asia. While the discussion on building an airport city may have been the initial reason for the stop in Amsterdam, the topic of marijuana policies cannot be passed up.
Like in Colorado, Amsterdam has been undergoing a vast number of political changes to their laws regarding the medical and recreational use of marijuana within their borders. Although the Netherlands has allowed marijuana use in some forms for considerably longer than Colorado, it is important to note that it is less advanced than the Rocky Mountain state in its public policies surrounding these cannabis products. In fact, marijuana is technically still illegal in the Netherlands and Amsterdam, outside from the sale and use in specialty “coffee shops” that have been scattered across the European nation. It is also still illegal for Dutch citizens to manage growing operations as well as smoke pot in public.
Denver officials believe that this trip to Amsterdam to discuss marijuana policy will be beneficial for shaping the state’s own regulations regarding the use of marijuana. With a better understanding on the challenges and opportunities that the Dutch have faced throughout their timeline of marijuana legalization, Colorado leaders will have the knowledge needed to fine-tune existing laws about cannabis products too. Like other countries around the world today, Colorado is interested in utilizing this trip to rethink their approaches to marijuana legalization and share their own tactics with the Netherlands’ government.