Cannabis bills get mixed reception from Legislature – Colorado Springs Independent
click to enlarge Lukasz Stefanski / Shutterstock.com The Colorado Legislature rejected consumption clubs this session. Colorado residents still can’t legally smoke weed in public after the state Legislature adjourned this month, but they will soon have some other options for consumption besides their own homes.
While legislation to allow for social cannabis clubs (Senate Bill 211) failed, House Bill 1258, “Marijuana Accessory Consumption Establishments,” has been sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper for his signature.
“It’s been a long journey,” Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, the bill’s primary sponsor, said of his efforts to address public consumption, a problem he’s been trying to resolve for over five years. Now finishing his third term, Singer has provided leadership on both medical and recreational cannabis regulation since he was appointed in early 2012 to fill a vacancy.
“The Legislature has set up an almost impossible situation in Colorado, especially for out-of-state folks,” Singer says. The crux of the problem is that marijuana is legal, he explains, but there are no legal places to consume it outside of one’s private home. Tourists, apartment renters, public housing tenants, homeless folks, and parents with young children at home are all affected by the lack of legal consumption options.
HB1258 allows marijuana shops to set up separate “tasting rooms” where marijuana can be bought and nonsmoking consumption can take place. “It’s modeled after the tasting rooms found in wineries and breweries, which has worked well for the alcohol industry,” Singer says. “It’s a great way to keep it off the streets.”
Over 30 marijuana and hemp bills were introduced in the Legislature this session, and some made it past both the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate, like a bill that allows for recycling of plants into fibrous products. Others were shot down, like a bill to mark buds in a way