Colorado Governor Vetoes Cannabis “Tasting Room” Bill

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed a bill on Monday that would have allowed licensed cannabis tasting rooms, citing health and safety concerns, according to a Denver Post report.

The legislation — the first of its kind in the nation — would have allowed adults at recreational cannabis retailers to consume small amounts of cannabis via either a vaporizer or edibles.

Colorado is currently home to several unlicensed cannabis clubs and the city of Denver has also begun issuing licenses for social-use establishments after a successful voter initiative. The vetoed bill, however, would have been limited to recreational stores and would not have allowed consumption of shared or personal cannabis, only cannabis supplied by the establishment.

Hickenlooper wrote in a letter announcing the veto:

“We are concerned that marijuana use at consumption establishments could result in additional impaired or intoxicated drivers on our roadways. …This bill also poses public health risks. Allowing vaporization of marijuana in confined spaces poses a significant health risk for employees and patrons of consumption establishments.” — John Hickenlooper, via The Denver Post

The state legislature cannot override the veto because the legislative session ended May 9. The bill was also opposed by the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, alongside Hickenlooper.

The cannabis industry has come out strongly against the veto. Chris Woods, owner of the recreational chain Terrapin Care Station, issued a statement:

“What we were trying to do with House Bill 1258 was offer certainty on the issue of public cannabis consumption so that regulators could have a bright line when it comes to enforcement. …In its wisdom, the Colorado Legislature sought to close a significant gap in regulation. It’s unfortunate that the governor chose not to offer another regulatory tool to state and local regulators. This fight is not over.” — Chris Woods, via The Denver Post

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