Marijuana: Mason Tvert says limiting pot sales to Colorado residents would be unconstitutional

Mason Tvert thumbnail.jpg
Mason Tvert
Should marijuana pot shops in the state be limited to Colorado residents? This was one controversial debate to emerge this month as the governor's task force began its work dedicated to implementing Amendment 64. But Mason Tvert, one of the law's proponents, says there shouldn't be a debate at all, arguing it would be unconstitutional to prohibit out-of-state adults from buying pot. He believes it would also be bad public policy.

"It's entirely unconstitutional and it'll just subject the state to costly litigation," says Tvert, a Marijuana Policy Project and critic of Project SAM, an organization that opposes legalization. "The constitution now includes language saying that these stores have the ability, the right, to sell to consumers 21 and older. 'Consumer' is also now defined within that as someone who is simply 21 and older."

Mason Tvert, Denver Press Club 1.JPG
Sam Levin
Mason Tvert at a press conference criticizing Project SAM last week.
In November, voters passed the measure that made small amounts of recreational pot legal for adults -- and Governor John Hickenlooper signed it into law in December. The governor also set up a diverse task force charged with making recommendations to the legislature about the implementation of the law, focused largely on the establishment and regulation of retail shops.

The commercial component of Colorado's new law requires new legislation. For that reason, it will be at least a year before any recreational businesses can open up -- if the federal government doesn't object.

But in early talks at the task force, the idea of some sort of residency requirement has cropped up, though the group hasn't crafted any final or even preliminary recommendations.

Tvert says it's quite obvious that constitutionally, a push for this sort of requirement is a battle not worth fighting.

"They can't now say, 'Oh, it's only Coloradans,'" he says. "They can try, but it's really not what we should be focused on. We should be focused on developing a tightly regulated system that will work and accommodate the demand for marijuana."

Part of the discussion about Amendment 64, before and after it passed, is how the legalization of marijuana might help tourism (though some are worried legalization will discourage investments in the state).

"On one hand, we've got our opponents who say if we pass this initiative, it's going to bring all these out-of-town people here who want to use marijuana," Tvert says. "On the other hand, they're saying let's ensure that those people can only get marijuana in an underground market. The goal here was to eliminate the underground market, so it's just foolish."

Continue for more of our interview with Mason Tvert.


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96 comments
Nick Murphy
Nick Murphy

Such a smart idea we don't need to have everyone using our state to score just like they use other states to obtain fireworks illegally I think I would go as far as to say only people born here can buy it so that they don't even get their hopes up thinking they can come here

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

Mason is correct.  The imbecile prohibitionists Hack packed onto the task force are trying to do anything they can get away with to thwart implementation of Amendment 64.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Be careful of what you ask for--some government bureaucrat or politician will take your challenge and run with it.

Tito A Martinez
Tito A Martinez

I would be all about"no limits", if the rest of the country was on the same page. When you have peeps coming in, buying weed, then taking it out of the state, by plane, or by transporting it across state lines, you invite the wrath of the Federal Government. The rest of the country is just not on the same page, at this time. I'm VERY proud to be from Colorado, for a multitude of reasons, unfortunately the rest of the country is not as Progressive on this issue. I'm positive that will change one day, but for now we shouldn't provide people with opportunities to ruin their lives, and draw unnecessary, and unwanted attention from the Feds. You can bet your ass that they will jump on ANY excuse to come in and mess shit up!

Jen Symank
Jen Symank

Non-residents should be limited to consumption in shops or private clubs. They should not be allowed to take any with them when they leave establishments meant for consumption. We may get $$$$ from MJ tourism but it will also cause its own set of problems. Lets figure out how Coloradans are going to be able to purchase the stuff first! They were stupid not to have figured this all out before the the vote; they must have really thought it was going to fail!

Tim Tindle
Tim Tindle

Let the money come, don't regulate an industry that will employ folks!

Melissa Bruce
Melissa Bruce

No limit. The tourist benefits would help our economy...duh!

Emm Tee
Emm Tee

Makes 0 sense. Grown adults will be buying grown adults MJ like kids whispering around the corner of a 7/11 looking for a beer score ;)

Jordan Ortmann
Jordan Ortmann

Why would you want to cut out possible money from tourism. Thats just extra revenue for the state. I say come one come all to colorful Colorado.

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

The constitution allows for municipalities to make the rules if thems the rules they want to make then so be it. Maybe you should have read what you voted for

doej640
doej640

I worry Amendment  64 is going to end up being a long drawn out and delayed process. With numerous court  battles along the way.

I agree that it's a huge conflict of interest that there are anti legalization people working on the amendment 64 task force to provide recommendations on regulations. You should never have someone who AGAINST a law be the ones deicing how to enforce it.


I do look forward though in seeing how this all plays out, it's history in the making. Although I do feel like a lot of things will be delayed or stalled I also expect multiple other states to legalize recreational marijuana leading up to 2016. Colorado helped get the ball rolling in other states and as our movement continues to grow the federal government will eventually have to back off one day. 

Mike Milos
Mike Milos

If they do that, then they should try to limit ALCOHOL sales to residents as well. That would grab the owner of the Wynkoop Brewing Company, I mean the Governor's attention.

Erin Michelle Newby
Erin Michelle Newby

How will we get any out of state money otherwise? What was the point? It turns our border into cash crops for cops on the other side, if exiting tourists don't follow the Richard Scott Taylor directive ^. W/ Hoffman they had better get on this in market and attraction base campaigns if they are going to keep it from going in the gutter. Keep it upscale. And get it sorted already. I'm so sick of how long it take to get anything done.

Christy Young
Christy Young

We taxed it to make money so while I don't want people clogging up the roads to buy weed, sell it and tax it to whomever.

Matt Leising
Matt Leising

I know who would happiest about this though, the post office. So many po boxes would open up lol

Matt Leising
Matt Leising

I think it's dumb. Lets make money off marijuana tourism while we still can! You know the federal government is probably 10 years tops from being on the same page as us. Also, that will create more of a black market which is what Coloradans obviously want to get away from. I understand why they want to do this but it's just not a good or even manageable idea

Chriss Hoffman
Chriss Hoffman

Potential of billions in travel and tourisim dollars, if they don't and market this thing right.

Richard Scott Taylor
Richard Scott Taylor

If anything, why not encourage them to buy as much as possible, with tax being paid on every gram... Then give them an option to donate all remaining amounts in recycling bins at the airport with collected cannabis going to low income people.

Jeremy Dobson
Jeremy Dobson

Regulate marijuana like alcohol. That's what we voted on... Enough said.

Dave Lenio
Dave Lenio

honor other states med cards at least.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Nick Murphy ... and imagine how much of a LOSER they'd have to be to not be able to score any pot in their own state ?

orson
orson

@RobertChase   I believe you lost all bitching rights when you voted for A64 especially after donkeyhotay, monkey, myself, and others told you this was going to happen.  It was even predicted that you would be among the first to complain about how the law would be implemented.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RobertChase  ... fortunately the idiot stoners and voters like you were daft enough to SURRENDER total control of marijuana to BigGovernment REGULATORS and the insatiable Dept. of Revenue via A64.

Who could have foreseen that would turn out badly?

LOL!


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Tito A Martinez  ... it's all about YOU, isn't it Tito ?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@tutonehcc 

Marijuana McLawyers playing their future revenue source for suckers.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Melissa Bruce... nonsense.

Stoner tourists are losers.

Even Amsterdam is tired of the lowlife riff-raff  it attracts.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Charles Gleason 

Stupid Stoners Vote as Stupid Stoners Do.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Christy Allen  ... why not just SHIP it to them ... no clogged roads, and think of all the money!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@State Senator Pat Steadman  ... just Texans

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Courtney Donaldson  ... Exploding Fireworks in Colorado can only be sold to Out of State residents.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Matt Leising = Black Market Drug Dealer

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Chriss Hoffman = delusional stoner nonsense

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Jeremy Dobson 

What IDIOTS would demand the Government REGULATE, RESTRICT and CONTROL a "harmless plant that never killed anyone" LIKE DEADLY Alcohol that harms, maims and kills 10s of THOUSANDS every year ??


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@David Lenio  ... sure, right after they honor other state's Gay Marriages ...

hth.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@orson @RobertChase

Robert Chase = Myopic Megalomaniacal Magniloquent Moron

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay Cut off in mid-sentence, and sure to be abused in the future, as I'm sure you'll do, like a true asshole afraid of the truth.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

In the empire of lies, the truth is treason, and in the empire where the average American commits three felonies a day, everyone's a felon, and of course, a criminal, even though you won't cop to it.

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