Colorado passed one of the first recreational cannabis laws in 2012 but was slow to pass and develop social consumption and home delivery regulations. Currently, medical and recreational consumers must purchase weed products at a dispensary and enjoy their legally bought marijuana in a private residence. Out-of-state visitors and some apartment dwellers have an even more difficult time consuming their product, since some buildings, such as apartment complexes and hotels, don’t allow cannabis consumption.
In May 2019, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed two progressive marijuana bills to increase safe cannabis access. HB 19-230 is the marijuana hospitality bill that allows for social consumption in approved facilities such as dispensaries, hotels, and restaurants. HB 19-234 will make cannabis delivery legal in jurisdictions that allow it. These new developments in Colorado’s cannabis market are set to infuse new job opportunities into an already thriving market.
Marijuana Hospitality Bill
Before we take a look at the new employment opportunities that may be available in the coming years, let’s look at the bills themselves. House Bill 19-230, otherwise known as the Marijuana Hospitality Bill, makes it possible for dispensaries to apply for tasting room licenses. Other non-cannabis-centric facilities such as hotels, restaurants, and music venues may apply for a social consumption license. Limited licenses are also available for short-term events.
Keep in mind, local municipalities may choose to ban social consumption lounges within their jurisdiction. Additionally, social consumption locations must not hold a liquor license, which could reduce the incentive for businesses to apply for these licenses. Businesses may start to apply for licenses starting January 1, 2020.
Cannabis Delivery Bill
House Bill 19-234 will provide medical and recreational cannabis consumers with the ability to order products and have them delivered directly to their home, which can be as simple as using a smartphone app. This new bill will benefit patients with limited mobility or those unable or unwilling to visit a dispensary location. Like the hospitality bill, local lawmakers could choose to ban cannabis delivery services within their jurisdiction.
Both bills require lawmakers to hash out regulations. The delivery bill indicates that medical delivery would begin on June 2, 2020. Recreational delivery services would be able to apply for a delivery license the following year, on June 2, 2021. Current cannabis license holders would be able to receive licenses in the first year. After the first year, third-party distributors may seek to obtain a license.
A Work in Progress
While Colorado may be in for a treat with social consumption lounges and home delivery, medical and recreational consumers will have to wait at least a year before they can reap the fruits of their labor. Lawmakers must develop a framework for these new sectors of the state’s marijuana market. What we do know is that these new bills will increase the need for highly talented individuals to assist in hospitality and delivery-related positions.
Like breweries, cannabis dispensaries may choose to add an adjoining tasting room for its customers. Some dispensaries may just have a few of their budtenders perform the hosting and dispensing duties, but others may hire unique talent that has had experience working in a wine or brewery tasting room setting.
Tasting room management and staff must provide customers with an inviting atmosphere and a stellar tasting experience. Staff must have knowledge about cannabis strains, history, medicine, and products. Along with charisma and professionalism, staff must assist with events, do promotion, and perform sales transactions.
Businesses that don’t partake in the sale of cannabis can apply for a social consumption license as long as they don’t have a liquor license. Facilities such as restaurants, music venues, yoga studios, and art galleries can have a designated area where cannabis aficionados can imbibe their weed.
Cannabis lounges may need management and supervisor roles, bouncers, budtenders, hosts, and other relevant staff to provide an astounding experience. Cannabis lounge staff must remain compliant with regulations, check IDs, and assist consumers who have consumed too much cannabis.
Cannabis delivery in Colorado is set to bring about a new wave of industry positions ranging from delivery drivers to operations managers. Delivery drivers would require training on adhering to regulations and ensuring that every purchase is tracked. While driving positions may be entry-level, they provide job seekers with a chance for upward mobility.
Dispensary chains may require a more robust staff than standalone brick and mortar shops. For these large operations, an operations manager may be hired to develop standard operating procedures, train new hires, and manage department employees. Other supervisor and coordinator roles may be needed to run a smooth operation.
Colorado’s new bills are a logical next step toward the progression of their market. Some industry insiders argue that third-party involvement in the delivery services may become “fulfillment centers” as Tim Morgen, community relations manager for dispensary chain Bgood, tells Westword. While some businesses may fear the changes, the new bills provide expanded access to a currently throttled medical and recreational consumer base in Colorado.
For an updated status of whether cannabis delivery is legal in Colorado, in other U.S. states, and in Canada, sign up
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