Colorado licensing authorities have ruled that bars and restaurants with liquor licenses may not allow pot use on the premises, reports the Los Angeles Times. The Colorado Department of Revenue said it made the decision after talks with the liquor industry, health experts, and groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Officials said the new rule prohibiting “dual consumption” of alcohol and pot is in the best interest of public health and safety. Using both substances, they said, increases the risk of motor vehicle crashes more than using just one. The Colorado Restaurant Association agreed, saying marijuana use in bars and restaurants “will dramatically increase the liability risks for these establishments.”
The surprise move put a damper on what many were heralding as the next step in the normalization of cannabis in Colorado and the nation. Pot advocates accused the state of fighting a turf battle on behalf of the liquor industry. “They seem to think it’s fine for patrons of bars and concert venues to get blackout drunk, but unacceptable for them to use a far less harmful substance like marijuana instead,” said Mason Tvert of the National Marijuana Policy Project. “This rule will not prevent bar-goers from consuming marijuana, but it will ensure that they consume it outside in the alley or on the street rather than inside of a private establishment.” This latest twist in Colorado’s roiling cannabis landscape is probably being watched closely by the ever-increasing slate of states who have legalized pot.