Colorado is one step closer to becoming the first state in the nation to allow public cannabis lounges.
On Thursday, the Senate approved a bill designed to regulate social marijuana use across the state. The proposal would allow cities and towns to issue special permits to licensed businesses, giving their patrons the freedom to smoke from their personal stash in designated areas. The only stipulation is these establishments could not be any place where alcohol and food is served, reports the Associated Press.
Although the concept behind the bill is something that most lawmakers are finally getting onboard with, there is some concern that it will not see the light of day in its original form.
Governor John Hickenlooper has said that he would likely veto any social marijuana use bill that allows “indoor” smoking. The bill does not currently specify whether marijuana use would be allowed indoor or outdoors.
“We went to an amazing amount of trouble to say that we are not going to have smoking in workplaces in Colorado,” he said. “Smoking is bad for you — very bad for you.”
So if lawmakers expect to win the governor’s backing on this issue, the bill may need to be modified to prohibit indoor use -- in the same way the state regulates the use of cigarettes.
A similar measure is one the verge of being implemented in the city of Denver, where voters approved social marijuana use in last November’s election. This ordinance, which is only a pilot program, allows businesses to obtain a permit for on-site marijuana consumption. However, the language of the law dictates that pot be ingested on “special patios,” and it does not permit smoking – only the use of edibles and vaporizers.
The proposal that was approved by the Senate on Thursday now heads to the House, where it is predicted to pass without issue. However, it remains unknown exactly how the bill will pan out without some tweaks to the language.
If all goes according to plan, Colorado could soon open up Amsterdam style coffee shops later this year.