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May 22, 2015 11:25 am

Pot-Enhanced Art Classes at Aspen Jewish Center Canceled


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

The Chabad Jewish Community Center in Aspen welcomed the public to smoke and paint. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A series of marijuana-inspired art classes set to take place at a Jewish center in Aspen were canceled a day after they were announced, the Aspen Daily News reported on Friday.

Suzanne Horwich, director of arts programs at the Chabad Jewish Community Center on Main Street, told The Aspen Times the idea was approved by the center’s lawyer and local law enforcement. The painting classes, called “Art with Mary Jane,” invited the public to bring their own cannabis to smoke and eat during the lessons. The sessions were restricted to adults aged 21 and older and would have been taught by local artists.

“That was a surprise to us,” said Debbie Quinn, assistant city attorney, who said she was shocked by the announcement of the classes.

Smoking marijuana for recreational purposes was legalized  in Aspen last year, but Quinn noted that Aspen’s municipal code forbids any club or business from allowing marijuana consumption on its property.

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Rabbi Mendel Mintz, the director of the Jewish center announced on Thursday that the classes had been canceled. He said he welcomed “creative and new ideas” for the center but added that Horwich’s proposal was premature, Aspen Daily News reported.

“It wasn’t properly vetted,” Mintz said. “And it’s not something we’re comfortable doing in the community. We just got ahead of ourselves.”

Horwich told the Aspen Times that when she suggested the pot-infused classes to Rabbi Mintz and the Chabad board, the center was ultimately supportive of “doing something groundbreaking.”

“I want people to experience the joy of creating art with the guidance and instruction of a professional artist, and if they choose to indulge in a now-legal substance, why not?” she said in the event announcement. “Sometimes with the aid of marijuana it’s easier to follow your bliss while creating. Of course, it’s not required, and we welcome people just to come for a class.”

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