Marijuana bills to implement Amendment 64 face first tests today: Read them here
Last month, the Amendment 64 Task Force issued its recommendations about how best to implement the measure, which allows adults 21 and over in Colorado to use and possess small amounts of marijuana. The legislature's aptly named A64 joint committee followed suit, and it didn't simply rubber-stamp the task force's advice. Then, last week, actual bills were introduced -- but their language is reportedly still shifting even as they're scheduled to begin their path toward passage at the State Capitol today. Read the latest versions below.
The first of the proposals, known as House Bill 13-1317, is getting by far the most attention, and at least as written, it adopts the majority of A64 implementation suggestions offered by the task force. Among the exceptions in the legislation, sponsored by Representative Dan Pabon: The measure rejects the concept of vertical integration -- requiring that retail shops grow the majority of their own cannabis -- that's currently in place for the medical marijuana industry.
But with the MMJ industry fighting against this concept, a change in this area is certainly within the realm of possibility. And according to 7News, assorted lawmakers were fiddling with the bill's language late last night in advance of a first House committee appearance slated for later today.
Another piece of legislation -- Senate Bill 13-283 -- will be heard today by the Senate's Business, Labor and Technology Committee, says activist Robert Chase of the Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers. And in his view, it's more problematic than HB 13-1317. Via e-mail, he maintains that 1317 is the "least significant" of the bills about to be presented "despite the industry's obsession with it and legislators' misunderstanding." In his view, its most problematic element is "a special sales tax not contemplated under the amendment," which he sees as "out of all proportion to any costs associated with the regulation of cannabis."
In contrast, Chase considers SB 13-283 to be "a direct declaration of war against cannabis-users and a monumental gesture of contempt for the express will of the people of Colorado that cannabis be regulated like alcohol."
Look below to see the 7News report on the first measure, followed by the latest versions of the two bills.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana retailers may not have to grow their own -- and that's great, attorney says."