The Colorado Legislature has just passed a bill that allows recreational cannabis retailers to set up their own on-site tasting rooms.
Now, the first-of-its-kind bill has been forwarded to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk for his signature. This means that if the bill is approved by the governor, licensed cannabis tasting rooms could start operating in Colorado early next year.
With these on-site tasting rooms, consumers will be able to sample cannabis through vaping using an electronic device, or through edibles.
The cannabis tasting room bill – which is also called House Bill 1258 – would mark another milestone for a state that implemented the first recreational cannabis sales in the country back in 2014.
If we can taste beer, why not weed?
Cannabis advocates have argued that if beer and wine enthusiasts can taste different beers and wines at breweries and wineries, why can’t cannabis consumers do the same before purchasing a particular cannabis product?
Currently, cannabis consumers must purchase a weed product before getting the chance to sample it at home.
However, many pot users believe that it is important to be able to taste the cannabis product since flavor is clearly one of the most important things they have to consider before buying it.
American Cancer Society Action Network wants bill vetoed by governor
The American Cancer Society Action Network opposes the bill and wants Gov. Hickenlooper to veto it.
The group said in a statement that cannabis tasting rooms would expose people to harmful second-hand cannabis smoke, including e-cigarette aerosol. They also said they do not think lawmakers should risk Colorado residents’ short- or long-term health by allowing cannabis consumers to use the drug in public.
The American Lung Association is also not in favor of the bill, citing concerns related to the Clean Indoor Air Act.
Colorado state law currently does not allow the consumption of marijuana in public spaces. However, it can be noted that Colorado is home to a number of unlicensed cannabis clubs. Moreover, Denver has just started granting licenses to social-use establishments, thanks to a voter-approved initiative supporting such businesses.
According to Peter Marcus, Terrapin Care Station spokesperson, the cannabis tasting room bill is a way to get used to what the state’s regulatory structure will look like for public cannabis consumption. Terrapin Care Station is a cannabis dispensary chain in Colorado that supports social cannabis consumption.
Rep. Jovan Melton (D-Aurora) believes that the state is going to break ground with the government-approved social-consumption regulations. He explained that the concept differs from pot clubs in that it is restricted to current recreational cannabis retailers and it does not allow consumers to share or to bring their own supply into the consumption area.
Meanwhile, Hickenlooper had cautioned that expanding the presence of cannabis in Colorado might not be a wise idea considering the uncertainty of how the U.S. federal government may opt to enforce its anti-cannabis laws.
What the proposed legislation wants to address
The proposed legislation hopes to address one problem, and that is the limited options for tourists and for other people to consume cannabis and how this often pushes them to do it in public view, such as in sidewalks and in parks.
Melton said that the bill is a way for tourists to stop consuming on the sidewalks.
Some regulations, such as purchase limits, are going to be subject to the Marijuana Enforcement Division’s rule-making process, but it is the accessory consumption establishment bill that prohibits smoking cigarettes, food, alcohol, free samples, employee consumption, and bring-your-own cannabis.
In order for a business to get an endorsement or authority to set up a tasting room, it wuld need to get the approval of its local municipality.