A bill that would allow marijuana deliveries in Colorado is heading to the governor’s desk following a final vote in the Senate on Wednesday. And separate legislation providing for cannabis “tasting rooms” could be soon to follow.
If signed into law, the two bills would represent some of the most significant expansions of the state’s legal cannabis program since voters approved legalization in 2012. The Senate votes on the House-passed legislation came just days before the end of the 2019 legislative session.
— Senator Julie Gonzales (@SenadoraJulie) May 1, 2019
The cannabis home delivery bill passed the Senate in a 20 to 14 vote. Starting in January 2020, licensed medical cannabis shops could deliver marijuana to registered patients. Deliveries for recreational cannabis would be allowed starting in January 2021.
Deliveries would be limited to one time per day per customer and could only be transported to private residences. The legislation would impose a $1 per delivery tax that would go toward cities or counties where the delivery company is based, and that revenue would go toward local law enforcement.
The Senate approved the tasting room bill in a 23 to 12 vote. It authorizes “hospitality spaces in which marijuana may be consumed on site” and allows cannabis retailers to obtain a license for products to be sold and then consumed in a designated hospitality space.
It would also amend the Colorado Clean Air Act to make smoking marijuana in these spaces an exception under the law.
But there’s one step left before it heads to the governor: after passing the Senate on third reading, it must go back to the House for a final vote approving the Senate’s changes. That final action is expected within days.
When legislation to allow social consumption sites arrived on the desk of then-Gov. John Hickenlooper (D)—now a 2020 presidential candidate— last year, he vetoed it, arguing that it violated a constitutional statute prohibiting cannabis from being consumed “openly” or “publicly.”
Gov. Jared Polis (D), who pursued broad marijuana reforms as a congressman, is much friendlier to the cannabis industry, though, and advocates expect him to give the legislation his signature. He criticized his predecessor’s vetos on several cannabis bills in an earlier interview with Marijuana Moment, and he pledged to back those proposals if he was elected.
Lawmakers also gave final approval on Wednesday to legislation allowing the use of medical cannabis for any condition for which a physician can prescribe opioids.
Photo courtesy of Martin Alonso.