Medical Marijuana||Tax and Regulate

Colo.: Gov. Polis signs bills to improve cannabis policies

Cannabis hospitality, delivery, and other improvements are coming soon!

Great news! In the past week, Gov. Jared Polis (D) has signed several bills to improve Colorado's cannabis laws — including to allow delivery and hospitality (cannabis cafés), to make investment easier, and to allow patients to use medical cannabis for anything a prescription opiate could be prescribed for.

The new laws include:

  • HB 1234, which will allow home delivery in cities and counties that allow it. Medical cannabis deliveries can begin as soon as January 2, 2020, and deliveries to adult consumers can start in January 2021;
  • HB 1230, which allows businesses like hotels or restaurants to set aside a location for patrons to consume cannabis — also in cities and counties that opt in. It will also allow licensed retail locations to sell small amounts of cannabis for use on-site;
  • HB 1090, which allows publicly traded companies to invest capital in cannabis businesses; and
  • SB 13, which allows patients to register to use medical cannabis (which is taxed at a much lower rate than adult-use cannabis) for any condition for which they could be prescribed prescription opiates. It also makes it easier for minor patients to qualify, by allowing any kind of physician (rather than just certain specialists) to sign their certification.

Colorado continues as a leader in cannabis policy, and these new laws are yet another step forward. Our hearty appreciation to the bill sponsors, governor, and all those who worked to get these measures through a difficult process!

 

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Tax and Regulate

Colo.: Home cannabis delivery and on-site consumption bills head to governor

New measures represent big advancements in cannabis policy

Lawmakers passed two key cannabis bills this week. One would authorize the home delivery of cannabis products, while the other would create much-needed locations for adults to consume cannabis outside of personal residences.

HB 1234 would allow both medical cannabis patients and adult consumers to order cannabis products for home delivery. They would be limited to private residences and would not be allowed on college campuses. Deliveries would only be allowed if they are authorized by their local jurisdictions, either through a local referendum or the local governing body. Medical cannabis deliveries would begin January 2, 2020, with deliveries to adult consumers starting the following January.

The other measure, HB 1230, would allow businesses like hotels or restaurants to set aside a location for patrons to consume without violating the law. It would also allow licensed retail locations to sell small amounts of cannabis for use on-site. The emergence of hospitality centers is a big step forward for tourists and other consumers seeking a legal option.

Colorado continues as a leader in cannabis policy, and these bills are yet another step forward. Thanks to all those who helped get these measures through a difficult process. Both are expected to be presented to the governor in the coming days, and many anticipate he will sign both into law.

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Tax and Regulate

Colorado: Cannabis delivery heads to Senate floor!

If you live in Colorado, let your state senator know it’s time to legalize and regulate cannabis delivery.

The bill to allow safe, regulated cannabis deliveries in Colorado is out of committee and headed to the Senate floor! The vote could happen as soon as tomorrow, so there’s no time to lose.

Let your state senator know you want them to support this sensible bill.

Then, post the link to social media or forward this message to other supporters of sensible cannabis policy.

Unlike alcohol and other legal products, Colorado prohibits patients and adult consumers from having cannabis delivered.

A bill that would fix that — HB 1234 — has already passed the House.

Many medical cannabis patients have significant mobility limitations. Driving to the store is impossible for some due to their medical condition. Far more dangerous prescriptions can be delivered in the mail, but cannabis delivery remains illicit and in the shadows. Starting next year, medical cannabis deliveries would be allowed.

Beginning in 2021, HB 1234 would allow all adults 21 and older the benefits of cannabis delivery. This can provide safe, regulated access to adults and bring cannabis consumers closer to equal footing with alcohol consumers.

Don’t forget to take a few moments to send your senator a note using our free online tool, then share this message with friends and family in Colorado.

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Tax and Regulate

Colorado: House passes bill to allow cannabis delivery!

If you live in Colorado, let your state senator know it’s time to legalize and regulate cannabis delivery.

Unlike alcohol and other legal products, Colorado prohibits patients and adult consumers from having cannabis delivered. Sure, delivery exists, but it’s unregulated and unsafe for everyone involved.

But a bill to fix that is on the move. HB 1234 — which would allow safe, regulated delivery — has passed out of the House and is starting to make its way through the state Senate.

Let your state senator know you want them to support this sensible bill.

Many medical cannabis patients have significant mobility limitations. Driving to the store is impossible for some due to their medical condition. Far more dangerous prescriptions can be delivered in the mail, but cannabis delivery remains illicit and in the shadows. Starting next year, medical cannabis deliveries would be allowed.

Beginning in 2021, HB 1234 would allow all adults 21 and older the benefits of cannabis delivery. This can provide safe, regulated access to adults and bring cannabis consumers closer to equal footing with alcohol consumers.

HB 1234 can pass this year, but it’s crucial that senators hear from supportive constituents. Take a few moments to send your senator a note using our free online tool, then share this message with friends and family in Colorado. 

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Colorado’s Nov. 6 general election is just 15 days away!

The state’s choice of governor will likely have a huge impact on state cannabis policy

Vote counting officially begins today, October 22, for the upcoming general election, which takes place on November 6. Many voters received ballots over the last several days by mail. The race for governor includes noted cannabis policy champion Congressman Jared Polis, whom MPP rates with an A+ grade.

Current Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is term-limited and must step down, and between the major party candidates, Jared Polis (D) has the clear advantage when it comes for support for good cannabis policy. He is the only candidate who supported the legalization initiative in 2012 and has been a strong advocate for improving federal law as Congressman for U.S. House District 2. Among other achievements in Congress, he started the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

By contrast, current State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) offers only limited support at best for cannabis policy reform. He voiced support for stricter regulations for medical marijuana during a recent public forum and referred to Polis’ stance as a “radical extreme plan.” MPP gives him a C.

The positions of two other candidates, Bill Hammons of the Unity Party of Colorado and Scott Helker of the Libertarian party, are unclear. Neither candidate has a prior voting record on cannabis legislation, nor public statements on cannabis policy.

For more information on Colorado’s Election Day, be sure to visit the state’s elections website here. And most of all, be sure to vote this general election in Colorado!

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Tax and Regulate

Colorado Legislature Approves On-Site Consumption Lounges

House Bill 1258 passed both houses of the Colorado General Assembly and is now heading to the governor’s desk. If signed, the bill would allow approved retail cannabis stores to open a tasting room where on-site cannabis consumption is allowed.

This is yet another big step forward in a state that has long been a leader in cannabis policy. If the bill becomes law, customers could purchase concentrates for vaping on site, along with edible marijuana products. Visitors to the shops would not be allowed to bring their own cannabis products, consume whole-plant cannabis, or smoke on site.

Although Colorado voters ended cannabis prohibition in 2012, restrictions on where cannabis can be consumed have been a burden, particularly for visitors to the state and people living in public housing. While purchases are allowed, there are few options for those who are unable to consume at a private residence. HB 1258 offers a solution by establishing regulated locations where adults can gather and consume without fear of breaking local or state law.

Many responsible marijuana consumers in Colorado believe they should be able to meet in a social setting, no different than those who enjoy a beer with friends at a public place.

If you are a Colorado resident, please ask Gov. John Hickenlooper to sign HB 1258 without delay.

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Medical Marijuana

Colorado Governor Signs PTSD Bill

Colorado just added post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of qualifying conditions for the state's medical marijuana program.

The Cannabist reports:

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday signed Senate Bill 17 into law. The bill opens the doors for Colorado residents to receive a doctor’s OK to use medical marijuana in the treatment of PTSD symptoms.

It’s the first new qualifying condition added under the state’s medical marijuana law since it was implemented in 2001. The state’s eight other qualifying conditions are: cancer, glaucoma, HIV or AIDS, cachexia, persistent muscle spasms, seizures, severe nausea, and severe pain.

The inclusion of PTSD among Colorado’s medical marijuana qualifying conditions has been a hotly contested issue of recent years.

Coordinated bids led by veterans groups fell short as the Colorado Board of Health quashed requests for PTSD’s inclusion and legislative measures languished in the General Assembly. The Colorado Board of Health has not added any new qualifying conditions since the medical marijuana law’s inception, citing lack of “peer-reviewed published studies of randomized controlled trials or well-designed observational studies showing efficacy in humans,” officials have previously told The Cannabist.

After the Board of Health’s most recent denial of the proposed addition of PTSD, proponents filed suit against the state. That case is pending in Colorado Appeals Court.

Proponents have argued that it’s not cost-effective for PTSD patients and it’s a risk to military veterans’ benefits to purchase recreational marijuana as a potential treatment for their ailments. Additionally, they argue that there is limited availability of suitable marijuana products — heavy in the non-psychoactive compound cannabidiol (CBD) and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — that have been claimed effective for symptoms such as anxiety, nightmares and pain.

Twenty-five of the 29 states with medical marijuana programs now allow patients with PTSD to qualify. Bills to add PTSD to state medical marijuana programs have been approved and are now awaiting governors’ signatures in New Hampshire and Vermont.

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Prohibition

Colorado GOP Senate Leader Downplays Federal Interference Fears

[caption id="attachment_10341" align="alignright" width="180"] Colorado Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg[/caption]

In response to statements made by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer last week, Colorado Senate President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg said that he does not think the federal government will crack down the legal marijuana market in states where it is legal for adult consumption.

Denver Post reports:

“I’m not sure I’d put too much thought or too much credit into what he was saying,” Sonnenberg told reporters Monday morning. “This president has been all about federalism and giving the states more authority, this just flies in the face of that. So I would anticipate not much coming from that.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper downplayed the suggestion a day earlier in a “Meet the Press” interview, affirming that he didn’t believe the federal government would target states like Colorado that legalized weed.

Colorado U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner has suggested a change in federal policy toward states on marijuana is unlikely, but Sonnenberg’s comments are the most forceful Republican pushback against the White House on the issue since the announcement Thursday.

“Colorado has been the leader when it comes to marijuana and the regulation,” he said. “People look to us for leadership, and I don’t think our new president will turn his back on allowing states to do what they need to do, whether (marijuana) or anything else.”

MPP will continue to monitor the Dept. of Justice for more info on their intended policy going forward.

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Tax and Regulate

Colorado Sees More Than $1 Billion in Marijuana Sales in 2016

picstateflag_1Legal marijuana businesses in Colorado made more than a billion dollars in sales during the first 10 months of 2016, exceeding sales numbers from last year.

The Cannabist reports:

Recreational and medical cannabis shops in America’s first 420-legal state have sold nearly $1.1 billion of marijuana and related products in 2016, according to the new October data from the state’s Department of Revenue.

When 2015’s year-end marijuana tax data was finally released in February, Cannabist calculations showed $996,184,788 in sales at Colorado marijuana shops that year — spurring a leading industry attorney to tell us at the time, “I think it’s ethical to round that up to a billion.”

That same lawyer, Vicente Sederberg partner Christian Sederberg, celebrated the billion-dollar news on Monday by also pointing to the Colorado cannabis industry’s increasing economic impact and skyrocketing tax revenues for the state as well as numerous cities and counties throughout Colorado.

“We think we’ll see $1.3 billion in sales revenue this year,” said Sederberg, “and so the economic impact of this industry — if we’re using the same multiplier from the Marijuana Policy Group’s recent report, which is totally reasonable — it suddenly eclipses a $3 billion economic impact for 2016.”

In addition to creating economic benefits, including state and local tax revenue and thousands of jobs, this legal market is on pace to continue stripping billions of dollars a year from the criminal market.

 

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Research

Study Shows No Increase in Colorado Teen Use After Legalization

Rates of marijuana use among Colorado teens have NOT increased since the state made marijuana legal for adults, according to results of a statewide survey released Monday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Rates of current and lifetime marijuana use among Colorado teens also continue to be lower than the national average.HKCSB1

“The survey shows marijuana use has not increased since legalization,” according to a CDPHE press release.

The biannual Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS) found that 21.2% of high school students in Colorado reported using marijuana within the past 30 days in 2015, down slightly from 22% in 2011, the year before Amendment 64 was approved and enacted, and 24.8% in 2009, the year hundreds of medical marijuana stores began opening throughout the state. The HKCS also found that the rate of lifetime use among Colorado high school students dropped from 42.6% in 2009 to 38% in 2015. The decreases do not represent statistically significant changes, and the state agencies that support the survey have reported, “The trend for current and lifetime marijuana use has remained stable since 2005.”
Nationwide, 21.7% of high school students used marijuana in the past 30 days and 38.6% had used it during their life, according to results of the 2015 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) released earlier this month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The executive summary for the 2015 HKCS notes, “Colorado does not significantly differ from the national average in lifetime or current marijuana use.”

The HKCS also found a slight drop in the percentage of Colorado high school students who reported using marijuana at school (from 6% in 2011 to 4.4% in 2015), and a very slight increase in the percentage of students who believe it is wrong for someone their age to use marijuana (from 60% in 2011 to 60.6% in 2015).

The HKCS is “the state’s only comprehensive survey on the health, well-being and resiliency of young people in Colorado,” according to the CDPHE.

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