The Denver City Council voted 10-1 in favor of lifting the 2020 sunset date on social use cannabis businesses.
While it is legal to buy and consume cannabis is Colorado, there are only two businesses in Denver that will allow you to vape or consume edibles on the premises. The reason? While Colorado voters previously passed a bill to allow social use businesses, it was a four-year pilot program that was set to expire in 2020. This coupled with the financing, leasing and banking challenges that cannabis businesses face was discouraging the creation of new business.
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As of Monday, this end date has been permanently lifted in the City of Denver. This will most likely increase both the quality and quantity of social consumption businesses in the area which could in turn mean a better cannabis tourism market. Before, travelers could purchase cannabis but legally had nowhere to consume it. While this didn’t stop tourists or locals from stealthily consuming outdoors, it did make it more awkward than it needed to be. Now travelers will be able to consume previously purchased cannabis on site. Many businesses are hoping for further loosening of the separation of purchase and consumption.
Last summer Governor Hickenlooper, who is seeking a presidential run, vetoed HB 18-1263, which passed through the legislature and would have allowed for social consumption in tasting rooms. This same bill would have allowed doctors to prescribe cannabis to autistic patients and begun the process for allowing Colorado cities to decide on cannabis delivery laws.