Marijuana Legalization Leads to New Fire Codes

Fire codes are an important part of fire safety for both home and business owners, and new laws continually affect these regulations and how they are implemented. Recently, marijuana was legalized for recreational use in Colorado, which led to several new challenges for the Denver Fire Department. And while the drug is legal at a state level, it is not allowed in every jurisdiction. That’s because some districts in the state have not approved the sale of marijuana, and fire safety codes have something to do with that.

As it stands right now, the Denver Fire Department uses an amended version of the 2009 International Fire Code. It amended the code in 2011, but there is currently no chapter regarding marijuana within the code itself. That means that state officials have little guidance when it comes to determining whether a specific building is avoiding safety hazards when it comes to the use and sale of marijuana.

Currently, there are four different types of marijuana businesses in the state: marijuana stores or dispensaries, labs, grow facilities, and manufactures of infused products. The state has taken the approach of assigning different fire safety regulations to each one of these business types.

While this may seem complicated, the presence of marijuana in each of these types of businesses poses different fire safety issues, so different regulations must be used. This is another example and reminder that just about any type of law can change how fire safety regulations need to be looked at. The legalization of almost anything can impact fire codes, even in the smallest of ways.

Contact John Michael Agosti & Associates for consultants and/or expert witnesses for fire code, life safety code, or smoke detector code cases.