Written by Andrew Zimmerman
The next evolution of legalized and medical marijuana has come of age, as House Bill 19-1230 concerning marijuana hospitality establishments has been approved. Sponsored by Longmont resident and State Representative Jonathan Singer, this initiative has been in the works since the initial legalization back in 2014.
As per House Bill 19-1230: “the bill authorizes legal cannabis hospitality spaces in which legal cannabis may be consumed on-site and retail cannabis hospitality and sales establishments in which retail marijuana, retail marijuana concentrate, and retail marijuana products may be sold and consumed on site in the establishment’s hospitality space.”
Working with a negative stigma towards marijuana that is over 50 years in the making was a difficult piece of all of this, Rep. Singer stated. This issue has been something he has really wanted to solve since it was first legalized in Colorado on January 1, 2014.
Singer was one of only a few elected officials from 2012 who supported marijuana legalization. In fact, just this year he has sponsored 26 bills of which 24 have been approved, and three have some connection to marijuana. But he is not a marijuana user, in fact, he states that he has never tried it. His focus is on logical sense and fairness as it applies to using the now legalized substance. Just as breweries, wineries, and distilleries all have the option to offer tasting rooms, he believes so should businesses in the marijuana industry.
There is some history that exists around this bill as well. Originally submitted as two separate and competing bills, one being the bring your own (marijuana) model, the other being similar to that of a brewery or winery in which customers can purchase products on site to sample. Governor Hickenlooper vetoed both bills.
Once in office, Gov. Polis encouraged Singer to support the bill again. This time both models of hospitality establishment were approved.
So now the stage is set to see how this bill will manifest in our local communities. Will marijuana dispensaries soon offer tasting rooms? Will hotel’s and other establishments offer smoking lounges? This all remains to be seen.
Singer has identified one issue yet to be resolved by the new bill. This issue concerns marijuana use in rental properties. Landlords are able to deny the use of marijuana in their rental properties due to the fact that marijuana is still federally illegal. This forces tenants to seek a legal location to consume their marijuana, including for medicinal means.
Yet another benefit of the hospitality establishment model is that the environment will be supervised by the facility. Colorado tourism now includes many folks flocking to the state to experience many things, including marijuana. Novice users will have supervision and a person to advise them on their level of intoxication, if needed. Additionally, these establishments will be able to offer patrons assistance in finding a safe means of transportation home.
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