The passage of Senate Bill 184 means select cities in Colorado could be on track to allow private cannabis clubs, yoga studios, and cafés.
After several amendments, SB184 passed with bipartisan support, 25-10, in the Colorado State Senate last week.
According to The Denver Channel, the bill would allow areas of the state that have authorized private marijuana clubs to operate while patrons consume cannabis. Denver is one such jurisdiction, as residents voted their measure in back in November.
Judd Golden is on the State Board of Colorado NORML, and legal counsel for the Denver chapter of NORML. He was optimistic that the bill would pass after a successful NORML Lobby Day.
“We answered some of the objections…some offices were unsure and had concerns, and hope we were able to answer them.”
It was the first time in recent history that all three of Colorado’s NORML chapters joined forces, to lobby on behalf of cannabis. Their lobby day this year happened to be the day prior to the vote for SB184.
Golden, a public policy expert, explains that this bill would get rid of the ‘membership’ grey market cannabis lounges found in areas like Colorado Springs. “This model doesn’t allow that,” he says.
CO NORML expected bipartisan support, and got it.
Even though the Senate GOP has the majority, it helps that the sponsor is Republican, says Golden. Sen. Bob Gardner, (R-El Paso County), tells Denver7 the way marijuana clubs are operating now is basically the “Wild West.”
Under the new rules, businesses would have to operate under tight constrictions for the consumption to commence. Some of the rules are as follows:
- The members and employees of the club must all be at least 21 years old.
- The club’s owner must have been a Colorado resident for at least two years before owning the club.
- The club’s employees must all be Colorado residents.
- The club won’t be able to sell or serve alcohol or food.
- The club can’t sell marijuana, nor can it allow others to sell or “exchange…for remuneration” marijuana on the club’s premises.
- Marijuana could not be consumed “openly” or “publicly.”
- The private clubs cannot be open to the public.
It still has some hurdles to conquer before becoming law, like passing the House and getting signed by the governor.
It’s unlikely Gov. John Hickenlooper will sign off on the bill as-is. Recently, he expressed his disapproval of the measure, saying that the measure must explicitly ban smoking cannabis indoors.
“We went to an amazing amount of trouble in Colorado to say that we are not going to have smoking in workplaces in Colorado,” he tells The Denver Post, adding, “smoking is bad for you – very bad for you.”
Thanks for covering this! One change: Clubs will be able to serve food and non-alcoholic drinks. An adopted amendment now just says that while a club cannot be a retail food establishment. Without a retail food license, a Marijuana Membership Club CAN:
• Prepare and serve coffee, tea, hot beverages, doughnuts, pastries;
• Serve prepared prepackaged cold food and drinks; and
• Serve hot food if prepackaged and requires no preparation other than heating.