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Colorado Senate Passes Social Use Bill

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When people make cases to support legalization and when states move to implement new marijuana laws, one of the first places they turn to look is Colorado – and with good reason. The state has a well-known and widely appreciated medical marijuana program and they were the first state to legalize recreational use of cannabis in 2012. Now lawmakers are looking at ways to improve their current laws – and right now that includes home delivery and cannabis clubs.

Cannabis clubs have been operating in a legal grey area throughout the state – and so far only Denver has passed laws regulating businesses that allow cannabis consumption. Senate Bill 184, which would permit individual counties and cities to allow private marijuana clubs, has now passed its third and final reading in the Senate, where it passed with a vote of 25 to 10. There have been changes made to the bill since it’s introduction, and more changes are likely during House committee review hearings, though the first has not been scheduled yet.

As it stands now, SB184 defines marijuana clubs as a private club with membership fees, where adults can consume cannabis as long as it is out of “public view”. It would require that all employees and members be age 21 or older, and employees must be residents of Colorado. Owners of clubs must have been residents of the state for a minimum of 2 years. While establishments would have to adhere to the Clean Air laws, if the business had less than 3 employees it could permit smoking indoors – which is the only aspect that Governor Hickenlooper doesn’t support.

“I do think, given the uncertainty in Washington, this is not the time to be reaching out to carve out new turf,” Hickenlooper said. “… The federal government can take that and wield a pretty heavy hand. We should demonstrate that we’re correcting the problems we have, that we’re being responsible in how we’re implementing the will of our voters.”

Along with concerns about allowing smoking indoors, Hickenlooper is uncertain of whether or not now is the right time to start making such big changes to their current marijuana industry – citing concerns over recent statements from the federal government. On the other hand, some lawmakers are seeing cannabis clubs as a solution to the problem of public consumption – which happens regardless of whether or not it is illegal. This way, people would at least have one option of where to go when they have nowhere else to consume their legal bud.

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