Despite the fact that the recreational use of cannabis is legal throughout Colorado, legal users are still not allowed to consume marijuana outside of their own homes since public consumption is not permitted. A recent bill would’ve been the beginning of legal use of cannabis in public spaces, but was stopped due to several concerns by government officials.
On June 4, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed a bill that would have allowed licensed cannabis “tasting rooms” in Colorado. House Bill 1258 would have permit adults at current recreational marijuana retailers to consume small doses of cannabis through edibles or by vaping.
In defense of vetoing the bill, the governor argued that the public consumption would result in an increase of traffic accidents due to impaired or intoxicated motorists on the road. In addition, he claimed the bill poses significant health risks for workers and patrons of consumption establishments. Some lawmakers were worried that passing such a bill would draw the attention of federal authorities, such as U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Advocates of the public consumptions of cannabis in the state argue that alcohol is consumed in public places nationwide, so cannabis should be treated in the same manner. However, the governor believes that this is an unfair comparison since there are currently no tests for marijuana impairment in drivers.
Amendment 64 – the legislation that legalized recreational cannabis in Colorado — prohibits “open and public” use. If Hickenlooper had signed the bill, Colorado dispensaries would have still needed approval from both state and local governments for tasting rooms, and no dispensaries within 1,000 feet of a jurisdiction that banned cannabis sales could have applied.
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