Legal marijuana social clubs – or coffeeshops, as they’re known in Amsterdam – may soon be a real thing in Colorado, which would make it the first state in the country to allow these marijuana-use establishments.
Denver is working on the regulations for a one-year pilot program where adults would bring their own marijuana to use at such establishments, according to The Washington Post. Lawmakers are mulling over thoughts of tasting rooms operated by licensed dispensaries or allowing clubs similar to cigar bars. Lawmakers are also considering something similar to Amsterdam’s coffeeshops, where soft drug use is tolerated.
Another reason compelling Colorado lawmakers to consider this measure is that too many people have begun smoking marijuana on public sidewalks, which is illegal.
Senator Chris Holbert has been approached by panhandlers asking for marijuana. He said, “It’s a problem we’ve got to address. I mean, look at me. If I’m getting hassled, everyone’s getting hassled.”
Democrats agree that tourists need somewhere to use marijuana that isn’t in plain sight.
Representative Dan Pabon said, “No voter in Colorado voted to allow the use of marijuana on their sidewalk, in their parks, in their public view. But that’s essentially what we’ve done by not allowing private club space for marijuana users.”
Surprisingly, both parties agree that a solution needs to be determined so that people have someone to use marijuana out of public sight. Republicans sponsored a bill allowing marijuana social clubs, which is on hold at the moment as a re-write is needed.
Some are worried that these marijuana social clubs would attract federal attention. It could lead to raids and other issues with the federal government stepping in. Some see these clubs as a measure for keeping marijuana away from children.
Representative Jonathan Singer said, “Jeff Sessions is the big question mark right now. I think we need to send a message to him that Colorado’s doing it right.”
Governor Hickenlooper is on the fence about the measure. He said, “I don’t know whether we’d be inviting federal intervention, but certainly that’s one argument I’ve heard used persuasively.”
If indoor use is permitted with the new regulations, Hickenlooper is likely to veto the bill. Colorado has clean-air laws, and using marijuana indoors in a social setting would be against state law. However, with proper ventilation systems in place, there is a way around infringing on that law.