Marijuana

Colorado Marijuana Advocates Won Big in 2019

Colorado Governor Jared Polis tours Bgood, a Northglenn dispensary, before taking office in 2018.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis tours Bgood, a Northglenn dispensary, before taking office in 2018. Kenzie Bruce
With a few strokes of his pen, Governor Jared Polis ushered in the most change to Colorado's marijuana landscape in a single day since voters approved recreational pot in 2012.

Inside a sweaty, packed governor's office at the Capitol on Wednesday, May 29, Polis approved bills that legalized social marijuana consumption and commercial delivery and opened the state's pot industry to public investors, as well as measures that significantly overhauled and expanded both the medical and recreational marijuana sectors.

"We really have an opportunity with a series of bills that we're going to sign...to really help make sure that Colorado can maintain its leadership position in job creation in the cannabis industry," Polis said before signing the bills. "We can't rest on our laurels as one of the first states to legalize marijuana through Amendment 64, which the voters chose to pass."

Marijuana advocates believe 2019 to be the most successful legislative session yet for the plant, so we combed through the laws recently signed by the governor to highlight some of the biggest changes.


Social consumption will finally be legal
The bill that received that most attention during Polis's signing spree was House Bill 1230, which allows restaurants, hotels, music venues and other businesses to apply for social pot use permits and dispensaries to apply for a tasting room license similar to that of a brewery — if their respective town or county decided to allow them, as local governments must still opt in to the program.

If your local jurisdiction does allow social consumption licenses, non-dispensary businesses could also apply for limited pot sales, while mobile marijuana lounges such as tour buses and limousines will also be licensed but cannot sell marijuana; temporary licenses for special events will be available, too. None of these entities could have an active liquor license and allow social pot use, however.

And so will delivery
House Bill 1234 will eventually bring marijuana to doorsteps. Medical marijuana delivery could begin as early as 2020, and recreational as early as 2021. Municipalities will have to opt in to this program, too, and the state Marijuana Enforcement Division will have heavy input into the law's details during rule-making sessions. The industry was split on the measure and language that allowed third-party delivery businesses, but it looks like we can order a smoke and a pancake to our homes soon.
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell