Marijuana: A64 task force member says buying limits about diversion, not jacking up prices
Yesterday, in reporting about an Amendment 64 task force recommendation to consider purchase limits on cannabis for in-state residents, a marijuana attorney argued that such a move would result in pot prices going up in a big way.
But Christian Sederberg, the A64 task force member who helped push this advice forward, says getting people to pay more for less isn't the goal. And what is? Preventing weed from being illegally taken out of state.
As we've reported, the recommendations that emerged from Tuesday's task-force meeting included requiring child-proof packaging; nixing logos that might appeal to kids; mandating potency labeling; forbidding the addition to weed of addictive ingredients like nicotine; restricting shops from selling products beyond cannabis and items directly related to it (like pipes and papers); and disallowing advertising in venues accessible to children, including TV, radio and most newspapers.
But the one that stood out above the rest for Warren Edson, a marijuana-law specialist and veteran pot-reform activist, was the possibility of limiting how much marijuana in-state residents can buy at any given time, rather than allowing them to purchase the one ounce authorized by A64 for adults 21 and over. An amount wasn't specified, but the most common figure floated has been a quarter-ounce.
To Edson, such a mandate contradicted the concept of regulating marijuana like alcohol -- a central precept of Amendment 64. And when people posting on Facebook likened a quarter-ounce to a keg of beer, he was left slack-jawed. He sees such a comparison as "insane and disingenuous," noting , "There are 1,920 ounces in an average keg of beer, which is the equivalent of 160 cans of beer. Put 160 cans of beer on one side of a table and put a quarter-bag of weed on the other and you can see how crazy that is."
More to the point, Edson argued that purchase limits could turn Colorado into a U.S. version of Amsterdam, "where you can only buy one or two grams at a time, and they cost $10 to $25 a gram.
"There are some people in the industry who'd like to see prices go back up," he added. "Right now, our prices in Colorado are half as much as the rest of the country, practically, including Oregon and California. But if you cap purchases at a quarter, there would be no more bulk-purchase discounts or deals, and we'd be getting close to the kinds of prices you find in Amsterdam."
Sederberg, who's also an attorney, and represents the Amendment 64 campaign on the task force, doesn't question Edson's economic predictions, since he hasn't gotten a chance to study them. However, he says Edson is incorrect if he assumes that marijuana inflation was behind the recommendation. The real point was diversion prevention, he notes, adding that industry representatives on the task force actually opposed the concept.
Continue for more about potential marijuana buying limits.