Marijuana News Roundup: Colorado Votes ‘Yes;’ State Rules ‘No’ on Public Pot Use

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Initiatives supporting legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational use took center stage during the last election. That doesn’t mean that nothing else was happening.

Colorado voters approved Initiative 300, a measure to create a four-year pilot program to allow businesses to get a permit allowing cannabis consumption on the premises, providing the users supplied their own marijuana. There are a lot of hoops for a business to jump through, neighborhood support likely being one of the toughest.

The logical places for public consumption of cannabis are bars and restaurants. But on Friday the Colorado Department of Revenue issued a new rule prohibiting bars and many restaurants from applying for the permits.

According to a report at The Denver Post, the new rule takes effect January 1, 2017, clarifying that liquor licensees cannot permit marijuana consumption in their establishments. Cannabis dispensaries and other licensed marijuana businesses are already prohibited from allowing on-site consumption.

Initiative 300 was approved by 53.5% of voters. Denver city officials have just begun trying to figure out how to implement it.

Marijuana May Be Legal in California, but It Can Still Get You Fired
Here’s a rule one Denver convenience store never expected to enforce: Microwaves cannot be used to heat pee.

The store is next to ARCpoint Labs of East Denver, which conducts drug testing for businesses who screen prospective workers before hiring them.

In Colorado, recreational marijuana has been legal since 2012, but it’s still forbidden by many employers.

That apparent conflict means lab owner Kelly Kirwan sees people regularly attempting to rig their drug tests. Some try to use someone else’s urine (requiring them to reheat the pee for authenticity; sparking the microwave rule at the nearby convenience store), while others try to mix in powders they buy via Internet in the hope of masking pot-positive results.

These schemes unfold because even though marijuana is legal for personal use, workers can still get fired – or not hired or sent to rehab – for having the drug in their system.

“A lot of employees got into trouble,” Kirwan said of the early days of Colorado’s law. “They thought, ‘It’s legal, let’s go smoke Saturday night!’ They didn’t understand that the employer policy still remains intact.”

The same is now true in California.

Read more at The San Jose Mercury News.