Colorado continues to lead the way with cannabis

While Washington and Colorado will be forever tied together as the first states to end cannabis prohibition, the experience of legalized pot has been drastically different for the two pioneers.

The initial difference appeared to be in relationship to Washington's liberal policies versus Colorado's more libertarian slant. Cannabis enthusiasts in the Evergreen State had to be jealous of their Coloradan counterparts' allowance of six personal cannabis plants.

But the Colorado Legislature is just now expanding its business regulations to make the state open to further growth that has already been enabled in other legalized states.

Perhaps the biggest piece of legislation is House Bill 1011, Marijuana Businesses Allow Publicly Traded Owners, which enables out-of-state companies and individual financiers to have ownership interest and investments in state-licensed cannabis businesses.

As more states vote for legalization, the ability to bring investors in has become crucial for states to ensure that they are a major hub in an industry becoming more and more corporate.

"I do see where the money's flowing right now, and it's not to Colorado," entrepreneur and Medicine Man Technologies co-founder Andy Williams tells The Cannabist.

The bill removes limiting provisions such as a 15-person cap on out-of-state ownership and prohibiting publicly traded entities from attaining a marijuana license. The move would further push the debate on federal prohibition, especially in reporting income in nonlegal states.

And Colorado is looking to be ahead in terms of legal places for weed consumption. House Bill 1258 looks to offer consumption licensing for recreational businesses who already have cannabis licenses.

Though the first image that may come to mind are the pot cafes in Amsterdam, the bill has far smaller goals. Establishments would be more like cannabis tasting rooms, where customers are able to vape flower and concentrates and sample single-serving products. The locations won't be allowed to offer food or alcohol, or outside herb.

"This bill will help make sure people aren't consuming more than they should and are doing it in an environment no different than what you would see at a winery or brewery," Colorado state Rep. Jonathan Singer said in a statement.

Patrons would be limited to 3.5 grams of flower, a gram of concentrate or 10 milligrams of an infused product.

This all comes after the announcement that a Denver coffee shop received the first business license that allows marijuana use by its customers.

While visitors won't be allowed to smoke inside of the business, they are still able to vape or consume edibles that they bring to the shop. The license is part of a citywide program that will have varied public businesses allow cannabis use. ♦

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