Every cannabis connoisseur’s dream is about to come true, at least in Colorado. This week, legislators passed a bill that would let you smoke weed at dispensary-run locations. The only step left in making this giant leap in marijuana freedom is the governor’s approval.
Marijuana Tasting Rooms Could Become A Reality
Want to try sample some product before you commit or can’t wait to smoke your latest purchase?
We feel you, and so does the Colorado legislature. House Bill 1258 would mandate what they’re calling Marijuana Accessory Consumption Establishments. In simple terms, licensed dispensaries can apply for a permit that would allow customers to smoke marijuana in store-run locations.
This bill passed the Colorado Senate 40 to 25 yesterday. The final step in making this law is getting Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s signature.
Why Lawmakers Are Supporting This Bill
Around the country, Colorado is synonymous with marijuana. This means that people travel from far and wide to taste world-famous Colorado herb. As a result, cannabis has become big business for the state.
In 2016, Colorado’s dispensaries made $1.3 billion, and this number continues to go up. Last year, the state earned over $247,000,000 in tax revenue from cannabis alone. Not only is legalization good for tourists, but marijuana tourism is great for state funds.
And Colorado’s new legislation aims to keep it that way. Currently, tourists don’t have access to private homes cannabis-friendly accommodation. Since they can’t smoke in the dispensaries after making a purchase, and many come to Colorado explicitly for this purpose, they’re in a legal bind. As the law stands, non-Colorado residents who have bought legal marijuana are forced to break the public consumption law. You can receive a ticket, just as you would for drinking in public.
With this new bill, anyone would be able to smoke inside licensed marijuana tasting rooms. Representative Jovan Melton told the Denver Post, “This is a way so tourists aren’t consuming on the sidewalks, which was something that was never intended by Amendment 64.”
What You Cannot Do Under This New Legislation
This doesn’t mean that all of a sudden smoking anything anywhere is legal. You can only buy up to 10 mg THC to smoke or eat in edible form. As with alcohol, you cannot bring whatever you planned on consuming in-store home with you. Additionally, you cannot smoke your own marijuana in one of these locations, nor consume any liquor or food.
There are a lot of rules for dispensaries hoping to open up one of these consumption spaces. The process of legally opening one of these businesses will vary depending on city or county laws. Like in California where some places have banned the sale of marijuana, local Colorado governments could, feasibly, prohibit tasting rooms.
And, unfortunately, they cannot offer you free product. Also, the smoking and store locations must be physically separate. Not everyone necessarily wants to get a contact high while shopping.
There Are Still Some Legislative Hurdles To Overcome
Not everyone is a fan of Colorado’s trailblazing legislation or the state’s move towards increasing marijuana freedom. For instance, those concerned with air quality and second-hand smoke continue to challenge Bill 1258.
Oppositional groups include the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the American Lung Association. According to the Denver Post, these organizations plan on asking Governor Hickenlooper not to sign the bill.
Colorado’s reputation does not guarantee that they’ll pass this bill. Just look at how long it took for Denver to approve the city’s first weed lounge.
However, legislators are hopeful that the bill’s restrictive nature will work in its favor. Senator Steve Fenberg explained, ” I would say is pretty conservative. It’s actually pretty limited.”