The lawmakers of Colorado stepped back on their initial plans of regulating the awaited marijuana clubs. As per the preliminary plan, the Colorado lawmakers were set to approve the opening of cannabis clubs just like Amsterdam. Unfortunately for the advocates and the users though, that dream seems to be long gone.
It is not news that the lawmakers of Colorado were constantly under pressure by the federal government. They were being threatened to face a federal crackdown in case they approved cannabis clubs. Votes were taken in the State House for the amendment of the bill that would essentially go on to construct the rules for how these private clubs would operate.
The cannabis clubs had the support of all the parties in the legislature. On the other hand, the measure was already accepted by the GOP Senate. Then came the all-dramatic turnaround. The lawmakers of
Colorado finally fell victim to the threats of John Hickenlooper—Democratic Governor. He had been warning the lawmakers repeatedly that in the case they go on to allow indoor smoking in the clubs, he would veto the measure.
In addition to that, the Democratic Governor also warned that such approvals by the lawmakers would invite the US Justice Department to intervene. Falling under the sustained pressure and threats, club regulations were effectively removed from the House amendment. As for the remaining bits of the amendment, they are far too minute to consider or draw any federal attention.
John Hickenlooper released a statement saying,
“Given the uncertainty in Washington, this is not the time to be trying to carve off new turf and expand markets and make dramatic statements about marijuana,”
Those that sponsored the club bill said that though they don’t want to back off, they don’t have much choice in the matter. With lawmakers of Colorado backing off, and the club bill being restrained, the state is left with its current club landscape.
There are already about thirty private marijuana clubs in Colorado, but they are also raided every now and then by the law enforcement. These clubs are operating under certain local regulations—not enough to make them invincible against federal action.
It is ironic how Colorado is a state where marijuana is legalized, and yet its clubs are forced to behave as if they operate in a state with cannabis prohibition. People like Jonathan Singer—a Democrat Representative—are determined to keep taking small steps in order to reach the bigger picture. He said,
“I’d like to see (a club bill) that goes much further, and that does a lot more, but in a year with Jeff Sessions, a small first step is better than no step at all,”
If this bill would have been enacted, it would have made Colorado the first ever state where clubs were regulated statewide. There were even a few that went vocal, saying that Colorado’s authorities are cowards for agreeing to back off. Tim Neville—sponsor of a separate club bill—said,
“It only makes sense to allow people to have a place to where they can (smoke marijuana) where it’s controlled and confined,”
It is yet to be seen if another club bill is proposed or if the state’s lawmakers have resorted to following the commands of the federal officials.