Colorado to Become First State with Licensed Cannabis Clubs

Colorado to Become First State with Licensed Cannabis Clubs
Colorado to Become First State with Licensed Cannabis Clubs

Denver officials are working on regulations to open a one-year pilot of bring-your-own marijuana clubs, while state lawmakers are expected to consider measures to allow either marijuana "tasting rooms" run by marijuana dispensaries, or smoke-friendly clubs akin to cigar bars.

Alaska regulators, spooked by how the Trump administration might view marijuana, recently decided not to move forward with rules for use of marijuana at authorized stores, though the issue there isn't dead.

California and Maine voters expressly signed off on public marijuana consumption, but haven't settled on rules. That means Colorado may be first out of the gate with statewide pot-club regulations, possibly by this summer.

Colorado officials from both parties have come around to the idea of Amsterdam-style pot clubs for a simple reason: Everyone is tired of seeing pot smokers on public sidewalks.

"It's a problem we've got to address," said state Sen. Chris Holbert, a suburban Denver Republican who opposed marijuana legalization but doesn't like seeing its use on the sidewalk, either.

Both parties seem to agree that Colorado needs to allow for places that let patrons smoke weed. But that's where agreement breaks down.

A Republican-sponsored measure to allow marijuana clubs to be regulated like cigar bars was put on hold for a re-write. That's because sponsors are trying to address concerns that pot clubs shouldn't allow medical marijuana use, along with other legal wrinkles.

There's also intense disagreement over whether establishing pot clubs would invite a federal crackdown.

Some say the clubs would be too much for federal authorities to ignore; others insist the Justice Department would view clubs as a way to keep pot away from children, a priority according to previous Justice Department directions.

The marijuana industry seems frustrated by Colorado's halting attempts to figure out how to allow pot clubs. Because current marijuana law is vague, Colorado currently has a patchwork of underground clubs, many of them raided when they try to file permits or pay taxes.

The Trump Administration hasn't yet come up with a clear policy on the issue. The president has wavered between supporting medical marijuana, to calling the rollout of Colorado's regulated industry a "real problem." 

 

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