- The Washington Times - Friday, March 10, 2017

Marijuana clubs came one step closer to legally operating in Colorado on Thursday after the state Senate voted 25-10 in favor of a first-of-its-kind bill allowing for private pot club.

Senate Bill 184 will now head to the Colorado House of Representatives where it’s expected to find similar success among the Democratic majority, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

If approved and implemented, S.B. 184 would allow local jurisdictions within Colorado to authorize the existence of private marijuana clubs where adults could legally consume cannabis beyond the confines of their homes. Clubs wouldn’t be allowed to serve or sell food, alcohol or weed, but would instead serve as a safe haven where pot smokers could gather and get high without risk of arrest.

Colorado became the first state in the country to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2012 and opened the nation’s first retail pot shops in 2014. Smoking weed in public isn’t legal, however, meaning marijuana users are limited with respect to where they can smoke.

“We have a lot of problems throughout this state of people publicly using marijuana,” said Sen. Bob Gardner, a Colorado Springs Republican who sponsored the bill.

S.B. 184, as currently written, would authorize the operation of private pot clubs within the state as long as local lawmakers agree to their existence. The bill would require all club members and employees to be Colorado residents 21 or over and would prohibit individuals from selling weed within a club or exchanging it “for renumeration.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, isn’t guaranteed to sign-off on the bill if it clears the House, however. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the governor said that confusion surrounding the Trump administration’s policies on marijuana made him hesitant to expand the state’s already lax pot laws.

“I do think given the uncertainty in Washington that this is not the year to be out there carving off new turf and expand markets and make dramatic statements about marijuana,” Mr. Hickenlooper told reporters Wednesday.

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