Colorado lawmakers approve bill for cannabis tasting rooms

(This story has been updated from an earlier version.) 

Colorado lawmakers on Thursday approved pioneering legislation allowing marijuana retailers to establish tasting rooms for customers to consume select products – much like a brewery taproom.

The bipartisan measure is believed to be one of the first of its kind in the nation – if not the first. It now goes to Gov. John Hicklenlooper for his consideration.

“I think this is the first state to explicitly allow/regulate them yet,” Morgan Fox, director of communications of the Marijuana Policy Project, wrote in an email of the tasting rooms.

“Alaska and Nevada are stalled, Maine is out for now, Massachusetts is on hold, and California is slowly approaching on a local basis,” he wrote. “I haven’t heard anything about the rest.”

The bill authorizes a currently licensed recreational marijuana store to establish a separate tasting room “located in the same local jurisdiction” as the dispensary.

The tasting room could sell cannabis, marijuana-infused products and concentrates, but smoking would not be allowed.

Other restrictions include:

  • Sales of alcohol or tobacco would be prohibited.
  • Customers could purchase and consume only products supplied by the retailer.
  • Free samples would be banned.
  • A customer must be at least 21.
  • Each retailer could operate only one tasting room.

If Hickenlooper signs the legislation, Fox said, it “will give other states a look at how to effectively regulate cannabis social consumption locations, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of people cited for public consumption drops pretty quickly.”

He added: “I think it will also go a long way towards reaching equivalency with alcohol in terms of public perception and hopefully will help further chip away at the negative stigmas associated with cannabis consumers.”

The state House repassed an amended bill on tasting rooms by a margin of 40-25, just days after the Senate passed the measure with a 22-12 margin.

While Colorado would appear to be on the leading edge in approving taste rooms, lawmakers this year rejected a bill that would have permitted marijuana social clubs.

5 comments on “Colorado lawmakers approve bill for cannabis tasting rooms
  1. Scott on

    What’s the deal with smoking Cannabis it’s treated like a bad thing yea let’s sample the edibles and do a dab unless you plan on staying for four hours or more I want to sample the flower that would be preferable I guess baby steps

    Reply
  2. Max Ireland on

    “The tasting room could sell cannabis, marijuana-infused products and concentrates, but smoking would not be allowed.”

    How is this a tasting room and not a dispensary?

    Reply
    • Bill Brown on

      If customers can’t actually taste products there, it’s just marketing hype. I also question the basic idea for the same reason I am against tasting rooms for alcohol: Too many people taste too much and then drive away under the influence. Even a few accidents will provide extra ammo to critics of legalized sales, which is clearly self defeating. Let them sell ‘sampler’ size pre-rolls for home consumption instead. There are laws and legal precedents which permit lawsuits against establishments which server alcohol to folks who are already intoxicated, how about extending those to cover weed as well?

      Reply
  3. Arne Freeman on

    I think the 420 definition of tasting is not relatable to lawyer/lawmaker?
    Tasting vs. Smoking in order to taste

    Reply

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