SEEKING GOOD CITY POLICY
Boulder is an outstanding place to live, work, and grow up because our city leaders are thoughtful and deliberate in their efforts to ensure good city policy. Expanding into recreational marijuana delivery and social consumption would be out of synch with that approach, because of fundamental flaws in both scenarios. Expanding would take Boulder in an unsound direction that could take years to fix or undo, and leave the city vulnerable to legal action by those who might be harmed.
Recreational Delivery: Flaws in Enforcement
Delivery of high-THC products would bring hard drug transactions right into Boulder neighborhoods. Cash transactions, driver safety in transporting drugs, off-camera ID compliance, the industry's inability to track multiple-dispensary purchases in any systematic way – these are just some of the issues that create an insurmountable enforcement paradigm. For recreational marijuana delivery, the Boulder District Attorney, Boulder city staff, and the Boulder Police Department's Chief Marijuana Enforcement Officer are concerned about these and other serious enforcement weaknesses that crop up outside the brick-and mortar environment.
Social Clubs: Flaws in Measuring Driver Impairment
Allowing marijuana lounges will undoubtedly increase stoned driving and related fatalities. Measuring driver impairment with marijuana represents particularly difficult challenges. The statistics on marijuana-related driver impairment in Colorado already are grim. Since recreational marijuana was legalized in 2013, traffic deaths where drivers tested positive for marijuana increased 135% while all Colorado traffic deaths increased 24%. Since recreational marijuana was legalized, traffic deaths with drivers testing positive for marijuana more than doubled from 55 in 2013 to 127 people killed in 2019.
Flaws in Protecting Employees from Secondhand Smoke
In 2007, progressive Boulder activists finally succeeded in a massive effort to ban indoor smoking, and protect the health of people and employees in our bars and restaurants. It is implausible that during a global respiratory pandemic, the marijuana industry is pushing to legalize social marijuana consumption.
Secondhand marijuana smoke contains hazardous fine particulates and hundreds of chemicals. Like the tobacco industry before it, the marijuana industry says it can provide ventilation systems to protect employees. No ventilation system has proven effective in removing the safety hazards of second-hand smoke. Everyone has the right to breathe smoke-free air. Smoke-free policies are designed to protect the public and all workers from exposure to the health hazards caused by exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. The same should be true for secondhand marijuana smoke. No worker should ever have to choose between a paycheck and a healthy work environment.