(AAron Ontiveroz, Denver Post file)

Colorado bill on pregnancy pot warnings questioned

A bill to warn pregnant women about the dangers of using marijuana had some Colorado legislators on Monday questioning whether that would be constitutional, since the mandate from voters who passed 2012’s Amendment 64 was to regulate pot like alcohol.

After a rigorous debate, House Bill 1298 passed on a voice vote, but just barely. The House of Representatives will take a roll call vote within the next few days to determine if the bill dies or advances to the state Senate.

The legislation would require pot shops to “display in a conspicuous location a sign that warns pregnant women about the potential risks caused by marijuana.” The state health department would determine the signs’ language.

The bill also would prohibit marketing pot products to pregnant women.

“This bill is a fairly simple one, but it’s an important one,” said Rep. Jack Tate, R-Centennial, one of the bill’s sponsors. “It’s about providing information to consumers. It’s about providing important health information to people — specifically to pregnant women — about a product that’s detrimental to the health and safety of their unborn child.”

Bars and stores, however, don’t have to put up signs warning about the threat of alcohol to pregnant women. The federal government, however, requires those warnings appear on package labels.

“This bill violates the spirit of Amendment 64, and that’s in our constitution,” said Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton. “We shouldn’t be doing that. We’re going to be treating this industry differently.”

Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, another of the bill’s sponsors, said that they’re both warnings, just in different places. He said killing the bill would regulate the two differently, since no warning would apply to pot products.

Singer got support from House Republican leader Brian DelGrosso, R-Loveland: “We are doing basically the same thing we do with alcohol. It’s just not on the product. It just happens to be on the wall.”

Joey Bunch: 303-954-1174, jbunch@denverpost.com or twitter.com/joeybunch

This story was first published on DenverPost.com