Coloradans voted for major change in November 2012, when they accepted Amendment 64 and legalized recreational cannabis. Now Colorado lawmakers have approved changes that will prove nearly as momentous.
Steps opening the state to societal pot use and cannabis delivery, in addition to approving new health conditions for medical marijuana, all passed on the Colorado General Assembly this session. But more modifications could come through less sexy bills that tackle sunsetting legislation from the nation’s medical marijuana program and pot market. These bills would create new business licenses, together with new opportunities for medical marijuana access; regulations could be eased for cannabis business owners and workers alike.
Now that the smoke of this 2019 legislative session has cleared, we have highlighted a few of the most expected changes to effect cannabis in Colorado..
Legal social consumption could finally arrive
Locating places to lawfully consume cannabis outside of a private home is tough in Colorado, in which public pot usage is banned by the state constitution. But as a result of the passing of House Bill 1230, companies such as dispensaries, restaurants, hotels, music venues and much more could soon make an application for social marijuana use permits. There are nonetheless a few catches, though: Governor Jared Polis hasn’t signed the bill yet (although proponents expect him ), also if/when that he does, local authorities must still opt in to the program. And one nation rule won’t alter: No establishment allowing bud use will be able to sell alcohol, also.
Delivery will likely be legal shortly
We will not find the very first stages of this before 2020, when just medical marijuana delivery is going to be allowed. Polis still wants to sign this bill, and if/when he can, municipalities will have to opt into this program, too.
Medical bud could soon be recommend as an opioid alternative
In a move that may open the state’s medical marijuana program to thousands, that the legislature passed Senate Bill 13, also referred to as the MMJ for opiods bill. The MMJ prescription length would be determined by the recommending doctor instead of the conventional one-year that individuals with different conditions now get.
Autism is now a medical marijuana condition
A similar bill passed through the legislature with relative ease in 2018, but then-Governor John Hickenlooper vetoed the measure.But, proponents and parents of autistic children could acquire more expansive language approved in 2019, and House Bill 1028 has already been signed by Polis, making it law and adding disabilities into the state’s record of medical marijuana requirements.
The marijuana industry will be open to outside investors and publicly traded companies
Following another Hickenlooper Founded in 2018, House Bill 1090 proposed opening the nation’s cannabis industry to out-of-state capital and investors, such as publicly held firms and large venture funds. The bill would also permit investors to own smaller shares (less than 10 percent) in a cannabis enterprise.
More physicians, dentists (and some nurses) will be able to recommend medical cannabis in Colorado
A change added to the sunsetting medical marijuana bill would allow MMJ recommendations by people having a “valid license to practice within his or her scope of practice.” Currently, only licensed physicians can recommend medical marijuana, but this move would allow dentists, advanced nurse practitioners and other specialized doctors and advanced healthcare professionals to recommend medical marijuana if it falls within their scopes of practice.
Cannabis inhalers are set up for easier regulation
A popular apparatus for medical patients and recreational users searching for rapid results, CBD and THC inhalers were below regulatory scrutiny in 2018 after the MED termed them a “non-conforming product”: a cannabis product which could not be smoked, consumed or vaporized orally. The status meant that companies producing inhalers were subject to FDA-like regulations, which demand long, costly stages of research and development, as well as product testing. Under the rewritten recreational marijuana bill, inhalers will now be regulated and analyzed in exactly the same manner as vaporizers.
Sales incentives for workers
Believe it or not, most cannabis workers in Colorado can not lawfully receive sales-based incentive bonuses at work, out of fear that it would peddling federally illegal substances. (There are ways around it, but companies have to be smart.) The recreational sunset bill would enable companies to perform this in the clear, and give the industry more protection from unnecessary state enforcement.
Lab testing of cannabis products will likely change
A sore subject for most cannabis producers, laboratory testing results for potency and containments can fluctuate from lab to lab. Even though the amendment is short and leaves a lot of rule-making to the MED, talk at the recreational sunset bill would require the MED to “prevent outdated testing” of medical and recreational products. What will that look like? We’ll see.
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