Colorado Symphony gets into bed with cannabis companies in hopes of hitting new highs.

The Colorado Symphony Orchestra has announced that it intends to perform a series of “cannabis-friendly” fundraising concerts sponsored by representatives of the state’s legalised pot industry. The concerts, which they are calling “Classically Cannabis: The High Note Series”, are supposedly a means of supplementing the cash-strapped orchestra’s income and, it is hoped, increasing its dwindling audiences.

Colorado legalised marijuana retail back in January, and have allegedly already collected $2 million in recreational pot taxes, but according to the orchestra it’s not the money but the smokers they are after. “The cannabis industry obviously opens the door even further to a younger, more diverse audience,” said Colorado Symphony CEO Jerome Kern. It’s a two-way relationship which will see marijuana-related companies acquiring “the legitimacy of being associated with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.” he added.

The new scheme follows the successful “Beethoven and Brews,” series, which the symphony inaugurated in a downtown hotel bar, and where musicians play classical music in conjunction with local breweries running beer tastings.

It might not all be plain sailing however. Kern has already fielded complaints from at least one musician and symphony supporters are reportedly nervous about the upcoming concerts. The events, however, will be run on a BYOC (bring your own cannabis) basis, which means that marijuana will not be on sale at the venue.

Jane West, whose Edible Events Co. is behind the series, said that audience members will be able to smoke cannabis at the concerts but will be put in a separate area of the venue. Guests must be over 21 and will have to purchase tickets in advance. “We try to create upscale events where people can come and enjoy some cannabis just like they would a glass of wine,” West said.

The industry response has been pretty positive. “You can be intelligent and savvy and enjoy cannabis as well,” said Richard Yost of Ideal 420 Soil (a company selling cultivation products to marijuana growers) talking to Colorado’s TV network. Yost apparently plays Mozart while he works and intends to sponsor the orchestra as a way of linking his company to a sophisticated high-art outfit.

It looks like the general public are keeping an open mind on cannabis related matters. Recent polls have shown that 52 per cent of Coloradans think marijuana legalization has been beneficial, while 67 per cent disagree that it has eroded the moral fibre of people in the state.

Classical music fundraisers in Denver are sceptical however. “I know that the symphony needs new sponsors, and they are trying to go after a younger group,” said one doubting Thomas. “I just don't think this is the way to go about it.”