Pot use in churches: Late attempt at ban rejected by Colorado House

JUST IN: Colorado House rejects late attempt to bar pot use in churches

  • The Colorado House on Thursday rejected a last minute attempt to ban pot use in churches, an amendment that was introduced on the same day the controversial International Church of Cannabis opened in Denver.
  • Proposed by state Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, the amendment to a broader bill on pot use would have barred pot use in churches, while still allowing exceptions for religious purposes.
  • Pabon argued it was needed to protect Colorado’s reputation, after the International Church of Cannabis made national news.
  • The bill debated Thursday originally would have made Colorado the first state to regulate marijuana use in pot clubs.
  • But after Gov. John Hickenlooper threatened to veto the measure, the latest version backs off of that goal, leaving Colorado with a patchwork of local regulations on the subject.

Church owner Steve Berke, middle, stands for a portrait with the rest of his crew inside the International Church of Cannabis at 400 south Logan street on April 11, 2017 in Denver. They are from left to right: Alec Rubin, Adam Mutchler, Angie Hargot, Steve Berke, Briley Hale, Dave Bogue and Lee Molloy.

@denverpost: JUST IN: Colorado House rejects late attempt to bar pot use in churches

DENVER, CO – APRIL 12: This is a photo of the exterior of the International Church of Cannabis at 400 south Logan street on April 12, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The graffiti style murals on the outside of the church were done by well-known graffiti artist Kenny Scharf. The members of this new church call themselves Elevationists and say that the use of cannabis helps elevate people to a higher form of themselves. They plan to open their doors to the public on April 20th and have a weekend of events planned for the neighborhood to introduce people to this new and unique concept for a church. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

DENVER, CO – APRIL 12: This is a photo of the exterior of the International Church of Cannabis at 400 south Logan street on April 12, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The graffiti style murals on the outside of the church were done by well-known graffiti artist Kenny Scharf. The members of this new church call themselves Elevationists and say that the use of cannabis helps elevate people to a higher form of themselves. They plan to open their doors to the public on April 20th and have a weekend of events planned for the neighborhood to introduce people to this new and unique concept for a church. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

DENVER, CO – APRIL 12: This is a photo of the interior of the International Church of Cannabis at 400 south Logan street on April 12, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The interior painting was done by artist Okuda San Miguel. The members of this new church call themselves Elevationists and say that the use of cannabis helps elevate people to a higher form of themselves. They plan to open their doors to the public on April 20th and have a weekend of events planned for the neighborhood to introduce people to this new and unique concept for a church. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

DENVER, CO – APRIL 12: This is a photo of the interior of the International Church of Cannabis at 400 south Logan street on April 12, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The interior painting was done by artist Okuda San Miguel. The members of this new church call themselves Elevationists and say that the use of cannabis helps elevate people to a higher form of themselves. They plan to open their doors to the public on April 20th and have a weekend of events planned for the neighborhood to introduce people to this new and unique concept for a church. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

DENVER, CO – APRIL 12: This is a photo of the interior of the International Church of Cannabis at 400 south Logan street on April 12, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The interior painting was done by artist Okuda San Miguel. The members of this new church call themselves Elevationists and say that the use of cannabis helps elevate people to a higher form of themselves. They plan to open their doors to the public on April 20th and have a weekend of events planned for the neighborhood to introduce people to this new and unique concept for a church. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

DENVER, CO – APRIL 11: This is a photo of the interior of the International Church of Cannabis at 400 south Logan street on April 11, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The interior painting was done by artist Okuda San Miguel. The members of this new church call themselves Elevationists and say that the use of cannabis helps elevate people to a higher form of themselves. They plan to open their doors to the public on April 20th and have a weekend of events planned for the neighborhood to introduce people to this new and unique concept for a church. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

The Colorado House on Thursday rejected a last minute attempt to ban pot use in churches, an amendment that was introduced on the same day the controversial International Church of Cannabis opened in Denver.

Proposed by state Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, the amendment to a broader bill on pot use would have barred pot use in churches, while still allowing exceptions for religious purposes. Pabon argued it was needed to protect Colorado’s reputation, after the International Church of Cannabis made national news.

“If that’s the road in which we’re going, it’s shameful to me that that’s what the people of Colorado … the people around the world right now think that’s what the laws allow,” Pabon said.

But the last-ditch attempt, which came just before the House was set to vote for the measure on final passage, was blasted by members of both parties as an unconstitutional restriction on religion, and was rejected via procedural move before it could even be put to a vote.

Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, ridiculed the amendment as a “nanny state” approach to governing.

“This is saying to people ‘we don’t like the way you worship,’” Salazar said. “Now do I agree with the way they’re worshiping? I don’t really think it’s relevant whether I agree or not.”

The bill debated Thursday originally would have made Colorado the first state to regulate marijuana use in pot clubs. But after Gov. John Hickenlooper threatened to veto the measure, the latest version backs off of that goal, leaving Colorado with a patchwork of local regulations on the subject.

The pared-back version passed 35-30, without the ban on churches. It now heads back to the Senate, which must agree to the House version or send it to conference committee before it can be sent to the governor.

Pot use in churches: Late attempt at ban rejected by Colorado House

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