Can a Dispensary Be Responsible for High Drivers?

By February 24, 2016Thomas Law Firm


In Colorado, businesses that serve alcohol can be found responsible in cases of drunk driving if it can be proven that the business overserved alcohol to a patron who went on to cause an accident. This type of law is referred to as dram shop liability (a dram is a small amount of alcohol, and dram shop is an old-timey word for places that serve alcohol).

Colorado’s dram shop law is CRS 12-47-801. It has been law since 1879 and actually does not reference marijuana, so under current laws, dispensaries (and the few cannabis clubs that exist, albeit illegally, in Denver) are not responsible for any drugged drivingthat occurs after they have sold marijuana.

If cannabis clubs are legalized, whether through the Limited Social Marijuana Consumption Initiative or some other law, then Colorado may take a step back and reexamine dram shop laws for cannabis clubs.

The Limited Social Marijuana Consumption Initiative

If the initiative makes it through state lawmakers and becomes law, under narrow circumstances Colorado’s ban on public consumption would be subverted. Businesses would be allowed to open up their doors to smokers, as long as the business does not sell alcohol.

With cannabis clubs, despite no provision under the law regarding marijuana dram shop liability, the logic behind the law still applies. Marijuana, like alcohol, affects a person’s cognition and slows down mental faculties. A business that allows consumption on-site could be responsible if actions by employees directly contribute to a person’s severe impairment.

However, the question is still not easy to answer. Cannabis clubs would not sell marijuana – they would only allow its use on site. Therefore, how could they be at fault? How can it be proven that the person was not impaired before ever arriving at the cannabis club? It is an interesting question, and one that will have to be addressed as Colorado adapts to new standards.

Our Colorado drugged driving defense attorneys will tailor your defense to ensure the best possible outcome to your DUI case.

 

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