Colorado’s House Bill 1258, which would approve marijuana consumption rooms in Colorado, was vetoed by Governor John Hickenlooper. In a June 4 announcement he cited public health and safety concerns as his reasoning. Representative Jonathan Singer sponsored the legislation.
The goal of the legislation was to provide a safe place to consume legal marijuana purchases for visitors, renters and others who could not use in private residences, as the law requires, the Colorado Springs Independent reports. Some claim that this could be why citations for public marijuana consumption increased by 471% in 2014. From 2014 through 2017, there was a 54% increase in these citations reported in Boulder.
The legislation was carefully constructed to limit the amount of THC that could be purchased at the consumption/tasting rooms. Infused products were limited to 10mg of active THC. Concentrates were to be limited to just one-quarter of a gram. No dry flower would have been permitted to stay in compliance with the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act.
The legislation passed the House and Senate with ease.
In a statement, Governor Hickenlooper said he was “concerned that marijuana use at consumption establishments could result in additional impaired or intoxicated drivers on our roadways. HB 18-1258 sends the wrong message by permitting people to consume marijuana in a public setting; a practice that may increase the number of impaired drivers on our roadways.”
He went further to indicate that vaping in confined spaces “poses a significant health risk for employees and patrons of consumption establishments.” He also voiced that it may have “an unintended effect….is the further normalization of marijuana use in the eyes of youth.”
Terrapin Care Station voiced its displeasure with the veto in a statement saying, “Hickenlooper’s veto ensures continued gray market activity when it comes to public consumption, an odd choice for an administration that has focused heavily on marijuana gray market enforcement. It also ensures that people will continue to smoke cannabis in unregulated indoor clubs, also a strange choice for a governor who has been adamant that public consumption should not include smoking. Hickenlooper’s veto also sets the state back in regulating and curbing drugged driving. This bill was a well-crafted and balanced solution to a problem. It passed with strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. By saying ‘no,’ the governor missed an important opportunity to provide solutions instead of kicking the can down the road.”