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By CCTV correnspondent Mary MacCarthy
During November’s United States elections, two of the 50 states voted to legalize marijuana. But it’s legal status remains unclear, since it’s still considered a banned substance under US federal law. And even within the states where it’s legal to grow, possess, and use the drug, it’ll likely be another year before regulations are in place permitting its sale. Mary MacCarthy reports from the state of Colorado.
You’d never guess that this small Colorado town is the potential frontline for new U.S. drug policy and practices By day, the "The Front Tea and Art Shop" is a cafe that sells wood sculptures but it has been attracting a growing number of customers at night by becoming a "Cannabis Cafe" For a small cover charge, Veronica Carpio allows customers to bring and share their own marijuana. She said she was inspired by similar cafes in Amsterdam.
Veronica Carpio, Owner of The Front Tea and Art Shop, said, "Amsterdam was a really good example for a long time, so now it’s our chance to kind of elevate it to a whole new level. So Amsterdam-Colorado-coffee-tea-art-place is kind of a good description."
For now there are just a handful of cannabis cafes in Colorado. Many of the customers here tonight drove up to 20 miles to check out the atmosphere. AND this employee is happy to share the cannabis being handed around. "Believe it or not kids, we can do this in Colorado."
"Cannabis cafes like the one in Lafayette are operating within a gray area of the law. It’s not entirely clear that what they are doing is legal, since the cafe could be considered a public venue, and public consumption of the drug is still illegal. But there’s no sign of law enforcement stepping in to shut them down."
Perhaps that’s because many Coloradans have already accepted cannabis as part of the state’s culture-the state has been home to a lucrative MEDICAL marijuana industry for over a decade. Medical marijuana dispensaries like this one are everywhere RECREATIONAL marijuana dispensaries may be opening up soon.
Robert Corry, Attorney for Colorado Marijuana Industry, said, "What we’re waiting for is the retail shops, like the liquor store model, where you can buy it and take it and consume it elsewhere."
It’s likely to be another year before the state issues licenses for pot shops and lounges. In the meanwhile, Coloradans looking for the drug need look no further than the closest "Cannabis Cafe." Mary MacCarthy, CCTV Denver, Colorado.