Fort Collins

Colorado Springs

If Pot Clubs Become Legal, Will They Be Liable for Drugged Driving?

In the coming November, Coloradans will face a pivotal decision that could reshape the state’s social landscape: the vote on the Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Initiative. If successful, this initiative will pave the way for public places with city permits to legally allow marijuana consumption. Dubbed as “pot bars,” these establishments could become a common sight in neighborhoods across the state. Proponents argue that providing a designated space for marijuana smokers could reduce the likelihood of public consumption, offer communities the power to determine appropriate use areas, and even provide a solution for tourists seeking cannabis-friendly environments outside their hotels.

Creating a Controlled Environment:

One of the primary arguments in favor of the initiative is the potential to create controlled environments for marijuana consumption. Advocates believe that having designated spaces will discourage adults from consuming the drug in public, where it is currently illegal. This could lead to a reduction in legal issues related to public consumption and provide a more controlled setting for those choosing to indulge. Additionally, the initiative aims to address the predicament faced by tourists who currently have limited options for legal cannabis consumption outside their accommodations.

Dram Shop Liability: A Looming Concern?

As Colorado contemplates this major shift in marijuana policy, concerns about dram shop liability have emerged. Dram shop liability, a legal doctrine holding businesses accountable for incidents related to drunk driving accidents, currently applies only to alcohol in the state. With the potential legalization of pot bars, questions arise about whether these establishments will face similar scrutiny.

The existing dram shop law does not extend to cover marijuana, and many potential permit holders for public smoking are not businesses directly selling the substance. In scenarios where patrons bring their own marijuana, indulge on the premises, and subsequently engage in an accident, establishing the business’s culpability for drugged driving could prove challenging.

Potential Intersection with Alcohol:

The initiative opens the door to the possibility of marijuana consumption in bars that also serve alcohol. This intersection between marijuana and alcohol consumption raises further questions about dram shop liability. If both substances are being consumed on the premises and an accident occurs, determining responsibility becomes a complex legal matter. As a result, the potential for increased scrutiny of pot clubs regarding drugged driving incidents involving patrons may arise, prompting a need for legal frameworks to address such situations.

As Coloradans stand at the crossroads of this groundbreaking initiative, the prospect of pot bars becoming a reality looms large. The Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Initiative, while aiming to regulate marijuana use and provide designated spaces for consumers, brings with it a set of legal challenges. The potential intersection with alcohol consumption and questions about dram shop liability add layers of complexity to the initiative’s implementation. As the November vote approaches, Coloradans must carefully consider not only the benefits of providing controlled spaces for marijuana consumption but also the legal ramifications that may follow in the wake of this unprecedented policy shift. The high road may offer new freedoms, but it also demands responsible navigation through uncharted territory.

Do you have further questions or concerns? Call us or contact the attorneys at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, and we will be happy to help.

Skip to content