(RJ Sangosti, Denver Post file)

Colorado bill on pot shop warnings for pregnant women rejected

A Colorado proposal to require marijuana shops to post warnings for pregnant and nursing women failed Wednesday when Senate Republicans said the first-in-the-nation requirement would be unfair.

The bill to require maternal pot warning signs had the support of some Republicans and the state Health Department.

Supporters conceded that there’s limited research that maternal marijuana use harms fetuses and nursing children. But they said Colorado should err on the side of warning consumers about the newly legal drug.

“It just encourages women to get more knowledge about the potential risks,” said Susan Koontz, lawyer for the Colorado Medical Society.

A Senate committee voted 5-4 Wednesday to reject the idea. Four Republicans and one Democrat on the committee said it’s not fair to require maternal warnings in pot shops but not liquor stores or drug stores.

“All of those things could be damaging to someone who’s possibly pregnant,” said Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton.

Recreational marijuana products sold in Colorado pot shops already contain warning labels about maternal pot use, similar to the labels on alcohol and tobacco. But the stores themselves do not have to warn customers that pot poses risks to children.

Other opponents feared that the signs would invite pot shops to be seen as places to seek medical advice.

“This conversation is best between a woman and her doctor,” said Sen. Laura Woods, D-Arvada.

An earlier version of the warning bill would have banned the sale of pot to pregnant women. That proposal was scrapped, though the version rejected Wednesday did include a ban on directing pot marketing toward pregnant women. Opponents derided the marketing limitation as vague.

Online: House Bill 1298