click to enlarge Courtesy The Coffee Joint Ready for a coffee and pot cookie? A guy walks into a bar — and he orders a Love’s Oven chocolate chip Sativa cookie to go along with his fresh mug of dark roast coffee.
That could be the reality in Colorado by the first day of 2019. House Bill 1258, introduced in the Colorado Legislature on Feb. 26, and commonly known as the “tasting rooms legislation,” would permit both medical and retail licensed marijuana businesses to have an on-site establishment that sells marijuana products for the purpose of consuming them at the location.
“To me, it just seems like where the natural evolution is in the industry,” state Sen. Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, says.
Fenberg is one of six sponsors of the bipartisan house bill. Another, Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, says this bill has been three or four years in the making. Since Colorado’s Amendment 64 passed in 2012 (the law went into effect in January 2014), the goal has been to regulate marijuana like alcohol. Singer is hopeful this will be another step toward that.
He says legalization in Colorado has been “almost a bait and switch, for tourists especially” — marijuana is such a driver of statewide tourism, and yet public consumption is illegal.
And it’s possible that the law has caused confusion. In fall 2014, Colorado Public Radio reported that Denver police had a 471 percent increase in citations for public cannabis consumption in the first three quarters of that year, compared to the year prior, which was before recreational cannabis stores opened. And this year, Westword reported from the time of legalization through 2017, Boulder saw a 54 percent climb.
“What we’re doing now is we’re saying, ‘We know the world of alcohol — for wineries, breweries and tasting rooms for spirits and