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Colorado Pushes Back vs. Denver Cannabis Lounges

A letter from five state agencies in Colorado to the Denver City Council has shot down indoor cannabis smoking or the use of cannabis at a liquor establishment, the Denver Post reports.

The letter has also called into question something that was at first thought acceptable — vaping indoors. The state indicated in the letter it wants to make sure that “all Coloradans can breathe clean air in public spaces and in workplaces, and that means protecting Coloradans from secondhand smoke as a result of tobacco, vape and marijuana.”

Denver officials are confused as to why the letter mentions vaping, which was believed to be allowed under the state’s Clean Air Act. Councilwoman Kendra Black said, “I don’t know if they’re sending a message. …But currently it is allowed.”

The letter came out strong against establishments offering both liquor and cannabis.

“This administration is concerned that allowing marijuana and alcohol in licensed premises will result in an increase in impaired roadway users. The Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee found substantial evidence that the combined use of marijuana and alcohol increases impairment and motor vehicle crash risk more than use of either substance alone.” — Excerpt from the letter

However, outside of shooting down the major issues, the state did not address many of the concerns over which the Denver City Council had sought guidance. Most of the confusion boiled down to language in Denver‘s cannabis laws that says cannabis use cannot be “open and public.” The law, however, does not define exactly what “open and public” means — in fact, weed tour buses have previously clashed with law enforcement over the term’s vague definition.

Since state regulatory agencies have declined to issue guidance on the issue, the Colorado legislature will need to offer guidance instead, hopefully in the next legislative session.

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