The Colorado Department of Revenue has adopted new regulations preventing businesses that serve alcohol from obtaining a license to allow cannabis use at their establishment, according to a KCNC report. The rules are supposed to help clarify where cannabis consumption will be allowed following the passage of Denver’s social-use initiative.
The denial comes at the behest of the state Liquor Enforcement Division, who cited studies that showed dual consumption leads to higher impairment, which could increase the likelihood of traffic accidents for people under the influence of both cannabis and alcohol.
Peter Penzenstadler, a local bartender, said that he was on board with the regulations because mixing alcohol and cannabis could dangerous for some patrons.
“Alcohol messes up people well enough,” he said in the report. “[If you] add that marijuana to it, we can’t be in control of the customers for a safety standard as well.”
However, the rule throws a wrench into the rollout of Initiative 300. According to a Denver Post report, state law bars dispensaries from allowing on-site consumption, and while Marijuana Policy Project communications director Mason Tvert called the rule “absurd,” he said the decision “doesn’t completely hinder the entire law.”
“Remember that this whole thing kind of got started with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra fundraiser that was held in an art gallery,” he said. Due to the event’s cannabis theme, the city sent a letter to the event organizers warning them that their plan was illegal. It was later changed to an invite-only event.
“It is astonishing that the Department of Revenue is so openly fighting a turf battle on behalf of the liquor industry,” Tvert said. “This will not prevent adults from using marijuana and alcohol at the same time, but it will ensure that the marijuana gets used out in the alley or on the street rather than inside of a private establishment.”
City officials are currently developing plans to implement the new law.