At a time when the entire scope of the cannabis industry remains uncertain whether the Trump Administration is moving in with the kill switch, Colorado is, once again, on the verge of implementing a progressive reform that will give way to emergence of Amsterdam-style marijuana clubs.
According to a report from the Associated Press, Denver officials are currently at the drawing board in an attempt to figure out how to launch a one-year pilot program designed to bring social marijuana use to life throughout the city. While the program, which was approved by the voters in the election last November, is only a temporary measure, the goal is to further explore methods for treating marijuana similar to alcohol so that more is known when the time comes to draft more permanent legislation.
Interestingly, Alaska was expected to become the first U.S. jurisdiction to experiment with the concept of cannabis lounges, but regulatory officials ended up getting cold feet in the 11th hour and pulled the plug on this development. A couple of other states (California and Maine) have passed laws that include provisions for social use, but none of the rules have been finalized. There is also a push for similar legislation in Oregon, specifically geared toward allowing marijuana consumption during special events.
However, what is on the verge of happening in Denver with respect to social pot consumption could quite possibly be permitted statewide within the coming months.
Reports indicate that bipartisan members of the Colorado Legislature are opening up to idea of cannabis lounges because they say residents have complained about people getting stoned in public. Lawmakers, like Republican Senator Chris Holbert, who believes, “it’s a problem we’ve got to address,” says the time has come to give tourists a place to smoke weed.
But despite bipartisan support for a law of this magnitude, there are still plenty of arguments surrounding the issue to prevent much from getting done. One side doesn’t want medical marijuana users to consume in public, while another group is worried that allowing cannabis lounges might start a war between legal marijuana and the U.S. Department of Justice.
“Jeff Sessions is the big question mark right now,” Democratic state Representative Jonathan Singer told the AP. “I think we need to send a message to him that Colorado’s doing it right.”
Governor John Hickenlooper, who opposed Amendment 64, seems to have changed his attitude a bit regarding legal weed. But he isn’t exactly sold on the concept of social use. The governor has said that he would veto a bill that allows marijuana to be smoked indoors.
“We spent a long time letting everyone know that smoking is bad for you,” Hickenlooper said. “Just cause that smoke makes you happy, and dumb, doesn’t mean it’s good for you.”
Meanwhile, the grey area surrounding legal weed has given way to the presence of underground pot clubs. But these establishments have been the targets of raids and other law enforcement shakedowns. It is for this reason that the cannabis industry has a simple message for Colorado’s government: We’ve legalized marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol, so let’s act like it.