Outside a committee room in the Colorado Capitol a few weeks ago, about a dozen lobbyists chattered about marijuana consumption and delivery.
Inside the room, the largest of the spaces afforded for legislative hearings, at least another dozen cannabis lobbyists listened to the proceedings. They were basking in pro-marijuana support from a seemingly unlikely source, a conservative lawmaker from the suburbs of Fort Collins.
“We’ve got to care about those people, and we have to let them know that they’re accepted and that they are valued members of our society,” Republican Sen. Vicki Marble said of marijuana consumers.
She was speaking in support of a bill she sponsored, which would have allowed for marijuana consumption clubs, where consumers could purchase and consume marijuana on site. Marble introduced the bill because tourists and people who can’t smoke where they live have no place to smoke cannabis.
The bill, which some feared would have made Denver the Amsterdam of the Rockies, didn’t pass. Perhaps it was too aggressive for the Legislature this year. But the fact that it was being debated with conservative support says much about the state of marijuana in Colorado less than five years after voters amended the constitution to approve recreational sales.
As is, lawmakers attempted to advance a more moderate bill that would have authorized local governments to allow private marijuana clubs while defining what constitutes open and public consumption of marijuana. The House amended it to remove the clubs portion of the bill. But the Senate has not accepted those amendments, so a committee has been formed to reconcile discrepancies.
Efforts to normalize marijuana appear to get stronger in the Legislature each year.
“At some point, there’s going to have to be some questions about have we gone too far.”
Another example: A bipartisan bill this year started by allowing home delivery of marijuana,