Don’t blink or else you’ll miss yet another new bill Gov. Jared Polis signed in favor of cannabis. Two huge transformations for the cannabis industry come in separate bills that will allow cannabis delivery services and on-site tasting rooms.
House Bill 1234 will allow for regulated and registered cannabis delivery services to deliver cannabis products from licensed businesses to customers in the comfort of their own homes. The delivery bill was sponsored by Rep. Alex Valdez and Rep. Jonathan Singer, who said that cannabis delivery services could reduce black market sales and help homebound patients get their medical cannabis much easier.
Jordan Wellington, vice president of government relations at Vicente Sederberg LLP in Denver, worked on HB-1234, and described the benefits of the delivery bill. “Colorado’s cannabis delivery legislation (HB19-1234) is a significant step forward in obtaining equal treatment under the law for cannabis patients and consumers,” Wellington said. “Home delivery represents a critical expansion of access for many members of the cannabis community, such as patients whose disability prevents them from driving to a dispensary and busy single parents that need to obtain childcare to shop for cannabis.”
Some owners, managers and employees, however, fear that delivery services could significantly reduce foot traffic in their stores and weaken the bond between the customers and staff. Shaun Vause, manager at Doctor’s Orders Denver expressed his concerns. “In regards to delivery, I feel it will help the medical side of our industry overall, but the smaller stores may have a hard time getting the proper insurances to make it possible to trust a courier with multiple orders that would make it financially feasible,” Vause said. “Ultimately, I feel there are a lot of questions we still need answered.”
Before those questions can be fully answered, each town’s leaders will need to decide if they should approve cannabis delivery services within their jurisdictions. If so, the bill then could be passed down to voters to decide on locally. From there, the appropriated governing bodies would create permits for delivery services to apply for.
This summer and into the fall, the Marijuana Enforcement Division will complete the state’s regulatory framework, and patients will be able to start receiving their medicine through home delivery starting January 2020 and recreational patients January 2021, providing it’s approved locally, Wellington explained. “While we expect that some jurisdictions will prohibit home delivery, many others will permit delivery in their city or county and others will quickly reconsider their opposition. Since some local officials may drag their feet on this, it’s incredibly important that people let their elected officials know that they want their community to opt-in and start treating cannabis more like alcohol,” he said.
In regards to the tasting room bill, House Bill 1230, businesses will have to apply for a permit to seek approval of tasting rooms on-site. Since cannabis smoking is not permitted anywhere publicly, many have worried for a long time about the safety concerns of tourists smoking in illegitimate places. Tasting rooms not only offer a safe, social place to consume but allowing patients to test products before they purchase could boost sales.
Vause explained that by allowing consumers to try before they buy, it will build confident purchases and customers will enjoy their experiences more and keep coming back. “This will create sustainability in smaller business that survive on repeat business. I do think before we get too excited about these tasting rooms, we really need to take a look at our current driving laws and try to adopt a program closer to the Canadian system of determining impairment when it comes to driving,” he said.
Only time will tell the direction these two bills may move in, but having the governor of the state on board is a start in the right direction.