As the marijuana market in Colorado continues to grow at a very fast pace, one issue that is still somewhat unaccounted for is the lack of legal locations where enthusiasts can go enjoy their cannabis. Even though marijuana was legalized in the state back in 2014, its use is currently only allowed in private homes. A significant restriction that is particularly problematic for most tourists visiting the state with nowhere to go to smoke legally. Worse yet, those that do decide to “risk it” by partaking in their hotel rooms or other areas may quickly find themselves in trouble with local law enforcement.
This rather basic concern will hopefully be remedied somewhat by the introduction of House Bill 1258. This new piece of legislation would allow for properly licensed businesses to open separate establishments for consuming cannabis on premises, essentially creating the first of Colorado’s marijuana tasting rooms. While smoking marijuana will still not be allowed, patrons will be able to legally vape or consume edibles that they have purchased in those locations. Even though some view this bill as too conservative for their tastes, most agree that it is a step in the right direction.
Let’s clear the air: Marijuana users in Colorado need places to consume.
It’s been a flaw in the state’s legalized recreational marijuana experiment since the day pot shops opened on Jan. 1, 2014. The result has been flagrant use in public that is both a violation of state law, which bans public consumption, and a mildly annoying nuisance to those sharing the park, sidewalk or trail.
Denver attempted to tackle the issue by allowing permits for places of public consumption, but the response to the highly regulated process has been far too slow. Meanwhile, municipalities have turned a blind eye to marijuana social clubs that operate outside state regulation by charging a membership fee to make the venue no longer “public.”
Colorado lawmakers have the ability this session to turn the tide. House Bill 1258 is a fairly conservative approach to the issue. It would allow businesses that currently hold licenses to sell retail or medical marijuana to also open an accessory establishment that can sell marijuana products for consumption at the establishment.