Pubdate: Thu, 03 Dec 2015
Source: Boulder Weekly (CO)
Column: Weed Between the Lines
Copyright: 2015 Boulder Weekly
Author: Leland Rucker


On Nov. 20, Alaska's Marijuana Control Board voted to allow 
consumption of cannabis at licensed retail dispensaries. Alaska was 
the fourth state to legalize cannabis, and if signed into law, it 
would become the first to allow consumption outside of residential 
homes and private property.

The vote was close (3-2), and it needs the signature of Lt. Gov. 
Byron Mallott, but if it holds, the law would go in effect early next 
year. And it would really up the ante for other legal states, 
Colorado included, to figure out ways to provide places for people, 
especially tourists, to use cannabis anywhere other than their own or 
friends' homes.

Earlier, the same board, which is writing regulations for the 
enactment of Measure 2, which legalized cannabis in Alaska, had 
suggested banning clubs of any kind. That drew protests from those 
working to allow other places for citizens and tourists to be able to 
consume. (Nothing like coming to a place where cannabis is legal, but 
there's nowhere to use it.) So the proposed regs would allow cannabis 
to be used in dispensaries, subject to community approval, along with 
caps on THC levels in concentrates and a rule allowing outside 
investors to fund cannabis businesses.

Public consumption has been a tricky issue here in Colorado. 
Amendment 64 doesn't explicitly disallow all public consumption, but 
so far, except for Colorado Springs and Nederland, private clubs have 
not been permitted. The only sanctioned operation in Boulder County 
is Club Ned in Nederland. No other state that has legalized has been 
able to come up with a solution, either.

Earlier this year, Mason Tvert and Brian Vicente, both authors of 
Amendment 64, started the Campaign for Limited Social Use. The group 
got more than twice the number of Denver voter signatures needed to 
put a question on the 2015 ballot that would have allowed social use 
by adults in designated areas of bars and other sanctioned businesses.

They later pulled that proposal and are working with the city to come 
up with a workable solution. Tvert says that talks continue and that 
they are committed to working with the city and the business 
community to adopt a reasonable law that allows adults to consume 
marijuana in specified places.

Let's hope so. It's a problem that won't go away, and something the 
legislature should take up in its 2016 session.

This will be my final column in this space. I am not leaving, 
however. I will be taking a position as senior editor for a monthly 
magazine debuting in Denver/Boulder in April. Sensi will, like Weed 
Between the Lines, be chronicling the new normal as legalization 
takes hold in Colorado.

When I started this column more than two and a half years ago, I knew 
little about the subject and was determined to find out and report as 
much as I could. Cannabis has been a positive part of my life, and I 
began questioning the federal government's policies beginning in the 
1970s. The more I studied, the more I found out about the Drug War, 
the inequality in the way police and courts use marijuana possession 
against black Americans and other minorities and the lies that have 
fed this insanity for almost a century.

I am proud to live in a state where voters, by a convincing majority, 
support the notion that cannabis, in and of itself, isn't really the 
problem, but that prohibition is. Not everyone who voted for 
legalization is a cannabis user, but even Coloradans who don't used 
common sense instead of fear to motivate their vote. And thanks to 
our lawmakers, almost all of whom were against Amendment 64, for 
coming together to implement the law. It's not perfect, but cannabis 
has now become part of the fabric of our state, and life goes on.

Special thanks to Joel Dyer, Stewart Sallo and Jeff Dodge, who gave 
me the autonomy to develop the column when I approached them after 
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Amendment 64 into law in December of 2012.

Writing Weed Between the Lines has allowed me to meet some truly 
amazing, visionary people. My sincere thanks to all those who have 
shared their successes, failures and ambitions with me. You are the 
heroes of this revolution, and I'm hoping this change will give me 
even more opportunity to concentrate on the people who are making 
something I thought impossible just a few years ago into a reality.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom