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Cannabis clubs take organizing steps, solicitor general weighs in on suit 

CannaBiz

Cannavengers assemble

A few Colorado Springs cannabis clubs are moving to self-regulate. On Dec. 7, Jaymen Johnson announced on Facebook the formation of the Association of Cannabis Social Clubs.

It's a project that the Speak Easy Vape Lounge owner has been working on for some time, in collaboration with Jason Warf, director for the Southern Colorado Cannabis Council (SoCoCC); Ambur Rose and Jason Stark of Studio A64; and Jered McCusker of One Love Club (closed currently due to fire-code violations).

They have yet to form a board, but have drafted goals related to education, advocacy and setting standards. Warf says the association will seek nonprofit status in the future, but for now, SoCoCC will provide support.

ACSC's proposed standards line up with Amendment 64's stated "regulate like alcohol" declaration: Cannabis purchased from clubs must be consumed on site; nobody under age 21 can enter; employees must complete a training program. Also, clubs can't produce their own edibles or concentrates. ACSC is discussing membership requirements and standards for member conduct, plus a guideline for how much cannabis constitutes a single serving.

As for education, Johnson is adapting the training videos he uses for his staff at Speak Easy into a direct analog to Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS) certification. The DABS program — short for Displaying Appropriate Budtending Safety — will help club employees reduce stoned driving incidents, he says, and identify people who are too high and assist as needed. DABS standards will be scrutinized and finalized as the ACSC develops.

The ACSC's founders hope that mass self-regulation can prove to legislators that cannabis clubs are viable. Ultimately, the ACSC wants to keep bad actors from sparking a regulatory crackdown akin to when House Bill 1284 closed many of Colorado's MMJ dispensaries.

"It doesn't seem to matter how we vary in our conduct," Johnson says. "We're only seen as one group, so we either act as a group, or we fall as a group."

Courting legalization

U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr., has advised the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out Nebraska and Oklahoma's lawsuit against Colorado. Last December, Nebraska and Oklahoma sued Colorado, claiming that Amendment 64 violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. Further, the suit claims that marijuana smuggled out of Colorado has caused "irreparable damage," though the suit cites no figures as evidence.

"Entertaining the type of dispute at issue here — essentially that one State's laws make it more likely that third parties will violate federal and state law in another State — would represent a substantial and unwarranted expansion of this Court's original jurisdiction," the brief says.

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