Five long years after the state’s first recreational dispensaries opened, Colorado tokers will finally have a place to consume cannabis publicly. Governor Jared Polis (D) signed HB 1230 into law on Wednesday, legalizing licensed marijuana hospitality spaces in which cannabis can be consumed on site.
Before signing the social consumption bill into law, Polis said, “Colorado has many tourists and residents who choose to participate [in legal cannabis use]. Up until this bill, there’s been no way to have safe public consumption. I’ve smelled it walking my dog. For many of us with kids, we want to make sure we don’t have that in our neighborhoods.”
The new rules open the door for a variety of businesses to cash in on cannabis consumption, including hotels, spas, art galleries, cafes, lounges, and more. After purchasing medical or recreational cannabis at a dispensary, tourists and residents will be able to try out their purchases at on-site marijuana tasting rooms. The law will make an exception to the Colorado Clean Air Act, which prohibits indoor smoking.
The law won’t go into effect until 2020, and cities and counties have the option of banning social-use establishments. Local governments will have the option of adjusting the regulations to allow vaping, for example, but not smoking.
House Bill 1230 passed in the state legislature on May 2 and was signed into law on May 29. Last year, then-Governor John Hickenlooper (D) vetoed similar legislation.
Polis had a busy day of signing marijuana legislation into law Wednesday, including HB 1234, which allows licensed marijuana dispensaries to deliver cannabis to private residences.
Medical marijuana deliveries would be allowed to begin starting Jan. 2, 2020, and recreational cannabis deliveries would be allowed to start on the same date in 2021. Deliveries cannot be made to college campuses, and private residences can only have cannabis delivered once per day. A $1 surcharge will be added to each delivery and go towards local law enforcement costs related to marijuana enforcement.
Licensed transporters will undergo marijuana delivery training and will be protected from criminal prosecution for making cannabis deliveries.
The sponsors of HB 1234 argued that the bill would help stamp out black-market cannabis delivery as well as help patients who can’t always leave home for medical marijuana.
“This is a bill of compassion [for medical marijuana patients],” said Polis.