Marijuana: A64 task force member says buying limits about diversion, not jacking up prices
|Photo by Sam Levin|
|The first task force meeting took place in mid-December.|
"If I'm from out of state and I can buy an ounce at a time, I can go to sixteen stores to get a pound," he says. "But if I'm limited to only buying an eighth at a time, I'd have to go to 128 stores to buy an ounce" -- the sort of effort that even the most dedicated person might see as more trouble than it's worth. And if the limit was placed at a quarter ounce for out-of-staters, they'd still have to stop by 64 stores to reach a pound.
According to Sederberg, the thinking was similar when it came to possibly limiting purchase sizes for Colorado residents.
"Here's what happened," he begins. "The recommendation was that the one-ounce limit apply to stores, but nothing in it shall prohibit them from considering lower amounts for people who have in-state residency. The representative from the Attorney General's office had indicated it made sense to consider lower amounts, but when he was asked if he wanted to an offer an amendment about that, he said he would second an amendment. So I offered an amendment to make it very clear that we wouldn't put in a specific amount, but letting them" -- meaning members of the Colorado legislature, who'll be writing Amendment 64 implementation laws this session -- "consider it.
"It's not a recommendation that they do it," he goes on. "It's just a recommendation to keep all ideas on the table. Whether or not it's an effective idea or an ineffective idea is less important to me than a conversation of whether this is a credible idea, or if there are other ideas to move this forward."
Sederberg doesn't argue that a keg is the equivalent of a quarter-ounce of marijuana, even though (update) he brought up the topic in the following passage from a Monday Associated Press article:
Sederberg said marijuana legalization backers agreed to purchasing limits because he said most pot users won't find it onerous. Sederberg said average daily pot smokers use about half a gram a day, well below the 1 ounce possession limit.However, Sederberg goes on, "I am saying that if the Attorney General's office thinks this makes sense for diversion protection, then we should keep that discussion open."
Sederberg compared pot limits to kegs of beer. There's no limit on alcohol possession, but people seeking kegs of beer must sign their names and agree not to share beer with minors, Sederberg pointed out.
He notes that "there are different types of diversion that can occur in any regulated market. If you think about it, 100 percent of alcohol diverted to people under 21 comes from our regulated system -- like when somebody taps a guy going into a liquor store on the shoulder and says, 'Can you buy me and my friends some alcohol?'"
Applying such a scenario to marijuana doesn't take a big leap, Sederberg maintains. "If I'm the older brother and I have to go to multiple stores to get the younger brother any amount over whatever a reasonable limit could be, that's a slight deterrent, but a deterrent nonetheless."
Again, Sederberg emphasizes that he's not endorsing a limit at this time, and he's interested in speaking with Edson about his concerns -- some of which are shared by members of the marijuana industry.
"They were not supportive of this is any way," Sederberg says. "The industry voted against it, and spoke against it during the comment period." Hence, inflating prices via buying limits "was not the motivation of the industry people who were present."
From his perspective, though, the option of limiting purchase sizes to less than an ounce is worth preserving for now. In his words, "it's a conversation worth having."
More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana tourism isn't main reason to let out-of-staters buy pot, says task force member."