Chamber Adopts Membership Policy on Marijuana

Marijuana is a big topic in Colorado, as you well know. The Chamber opposed Amendment 64, which ‘legalized’ recreational pot use in the state. It’s passage at the state level set up a conflict with the federal Controlled Substances Act.

This legal ambiguity will eventually be resolved, but in the meantime, what about marijuana companies that may want to join the Chamber?

In anticipation of that eventuality, we have adopted the following policy: 

Properly licensed marijuana- and hemp-related businesses are eligible for membership in the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce under the conditions outlined in Article 2 of the Bylaws. The President is authorized to develop the policies and procedures under which such companies are allowed to use the chamber’s name, logo and facility and otherwise associate with the Chamber. Adopting this policy does not condone the use of a federally-controlled substance but is a practical recognition of the ambiguity between state and federal law and a reasonable attempt to accommodate entrepreneurs in this line of business.   – Adopted April 21, 2014

The administrative policies mentioned in this board-adopted policy can be found here. The short version is that anyone supporting the community-building mission of the Chamber is welcome to, but until the legal conflict between federal, state and local laws is resolved, the marketing benefits of the Chamber will only be considered on an individual basis. While wanting to be inclusive, the Chamber does not want to be complicit in marketing products that are classified as illegal under federal law.

It’s not a perfect approach, perhaps, but was thoughtfully considered in the absence of any other models.