It appears that Colorado's great pot experiment has had positive results, at least positive enough for the state government to move forward with new measures. A series of bills were passed by the Colorado General Assembly before the end of their session. As reported by Thomas Mitchell, cannabis editor of the news website Westworld.com, not only has the state decided to extend the current marijuana laws for nine more years, but also to promote the cannabis industry and loosen even more regulations on recreational and medical marijuana.
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Here are some changes that could be coming soon to a dispensary near you (er...if you live in Colorado). Consumption outside of the home could become legal under House Bill 1230, which, if signed by Governor Jared Polis, which is likely, would allow for marijuana "hospitality establishments" (defined as "a facility, which may be mobile, licensed to permit the consumption of marijuana") to be allow consumption on site. There is one catch, these establishments cannot serve marijuana and alcohol.
While it is unclear whether the bill based that last point (no alcohol) was based on science, it is well-documented that weed and alcohol do not mix well. Combining the two drugs can increase the effects of each other, leading to a more potent "high" than some users were expecting. A possible reason for this includes the effect of marijuana the bioavailability of alcohol which could be due to activation of cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) in the digestive tract. What is more, alcohol opens up blood vessels in the digestive system, which helps THC absorption. This combination can result in negative behavioral, neurological, and psychological consequences.
Another bill, House Bill 1234, would allow for marijuana delivery services. This bill would create delivery permits for licensed medical marijuana centers and licensed retail marijuana stores. However, this would not be the same as ordering a pizza. For one, regulatory and security requirements would be mandated for drivers. There would also be a $1 surcharge on all deliveries, which will go to the municipality where the store is located.
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Senate Bill 13 (aka the MMJ for opioids bill) would allow physicians to prescribe medical marijuana instead of opioid-based medication at their discretion. On top of that, House Bill 1028, already signed by Governor Polis, adds autism to the list of diseases eligible for medical marijuana. Finally, the legislature voted to allow physicians, dentists, and advanced nurse practitioners to recommend medical marijuana to patients. Previously only physicians were allowed to do so.
These bills, or variations of them, were vetoed by the previous governor John Hickenlooper. However, the new governor, Jared Polis, seems more amenable to such measures. Will the next phase of Colorado's great pot experiment yield more positive results? We will have to wait and find out.