New laws in Colorado will allow state residents to order pot delivered to their house and give businesses the chance to apply for a license to run a “cannabis cafe” where people can legally use marijuana.
Both laws have the potential to substantially change the marijuana industry in Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. However, there is a catch to the bills signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis.
Local jurisdictions will have to opt into the new law allowing cannabis cafes. And local cities and counties could also ban delivery of cannabis within their borders. Neither law is going into effect until 2020.
The marijuana delivery law signed by the governor allows for medical marijuana deliveries to start in 2020 and recreational deliveries to start in 2021. State lawmakers have tried for several years to pass a law allowing for delivery services but were unable to reach an agreement before now. Law enforcement officials and anti-marijuana groups typically oppose such measures, but there also was a split among Colorado dispensary owners, according to Westword.
Some dispensary owners unable to afford their own drivers wanted third-party drivers included in the legislation immediately. Others didn’t want third-party delivery services allowed at all for fear they will lose a sizeable chunk of business to an Amazon-style takeover. Lawmakers compromised by allowing third-party drivers in the second year of the new law, as well as online ordering. Not everyone is happy.
Tim Morgen, community relations manager for dispensary chain Bgood, told Westword that dispensaries have made an investment in the community by setting up brick-and-mortar stores. He said the new law could make some dispensaries no more than “fulfillment centers.”
“Your location doesn't matter anymore by allowing delivery. If you're taking orders through them, then they're the store,” he said. “They have all the information about you, and they have the relationship with you."