Dispensary Tasting Room Bill Passes House, Heads to Senate

A bill that would allow dispensaries to apply for tasting-room licenses continued to build momentum in the Colorado General Assembly on Tuesday, April 10, after passing its third reading in the House.

HB 1258 will now head to the Colorado Senate, but not without a couple of changes from the original version. State Representative Susan Beckman, who opposed the bill in both committee and floor hearings, introduced successful amendments to enforce consumer education at potential tasting rooms and prohibit any dispensaries within 1,000 feet of localities banning cannabis businesses, respectively.

The bill’s prime sponsors, state representatives Jonathan Singer and Jovan Melton, both endorsed Beckman’s consumer-education proposal. “It’s not just about having a good time; it’s about preserving public safety,” Singer said on the floor of the House. “This regulates the establishment of consumer education. We have tourists coming here who don’t know what’s going on, who are at a mile-high altitude and then ultimately end up over-consuming.”

Over-consumption and a fear of impaired drivers were the main concerns of the bill’s detractors in the House. Several state representatives, including Beckman, Paul Lundeen, Polly Lawrence and Yeulin Willett, voiced their opposition, calling for more time to figure out scientific dosing and techniques to measure impairment.

“One of the concerns that I have is the fact that marijuana affects everyone a little bit differently. Someone may taste a little bit of a product, think that they’re fine, leave the establishment, get in their car…and then have the effects hit them,” Lawrence said during one hearing. “I think that there is just too much unknown in this.”

Beckman took it a bit further, comparing Colorado to Las Vegas, saying the “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” slogan could be applied to state-licensed social consumption rooms and warning her fellow lawmakers to refrain from turning

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