Colorado Legislature gives final approval to historic marijuana bills

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— The Colorado Legislature made history Wednesday, becoming the first in the country to pass laws regulating recreational marijuana sales and use.

But lawmakers arrived at the historic moment more with trepidation than with enthusiasm about the future in a state where anyone 21 and older soon will be able to buy marijuana in special retail stores.

“This is a true game-changer for our state,” Sen. Mark Scheffel, R-Parker, said in raising concerns about the impact of marijuana legalization on kids. “And so I think it is important that we do our best to implement the right regulatory environment and fund it.”

If Gov. John Hickenlooper signs the four major bills on marijuana that the Legislature passed this year — and he has indicated he will — this is what the future will hold:

■ Marijuana will be sold in specially licensed stores that can also sell pot-related items like pipes. Only Colorado residents can own or invest in the stores, and only current medical-marijuana dispensary owners can apply to open recreational pot shops for the first nine months. The first stores will open around Jan. 1, 2014.

Read the full story at The Denver Post's website.

Comments

Nicole Miller 1 year, 4 months ago

Scott, in accordance with a content-sharing agreement with The Denver Post, we can post only the first several paragraphs of a story to our site before linking to the Denver Post site. Accordingly, I'll be deleting your comment.

Nicole Miller, assistant editor

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 4 months ago

Ok, so you won't post the content of the 4 bills. According to Denver Post fair usage guidelines, I was permitted to post three paragraphs if I left the links to their site. By the way, this summary is from Reuters and Bloomberg so no Denver Post conflict issues.

Anyway, one bill is to put a 15% excise tax and a special 10% sales tax on pot on the November ballot. That is in addition to normal retail sales tax. If the bill doesn't pass then there is no other effect except upset lawmakers that want tax revenues.

The new laws allow residents to purchase an ounce (max legal amount to possess). Tourists can purchase quarter of an ounce. Si mj tourism will be legal.

For the first year, only MMJ license holders can open retail pot shops. Only Colorado residents can open a retail pot shop.

There is now a THC limit for driving under the influence of 5 nanograms (apparently per milliliter) which is considered on the low side. Heavy pot users will probably consistently be above the legal limit.

Collectives that pool pot plants are illegal.

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rhys jones 1 year, 4 months ago

Yeah man, right... you tell us how it's gonna be.

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David Carrick 1 year, 4 months ago

The article said:

But lawmakers arrived at the historic moment more with trepidation than with enthusiasm about the future in a state where anyone 21 and older soon will be able to buy marijuana in special retail stores. “This is a true game-changer for our state,” Sen. Mark Scheffel, R-Parker, said in raising concerns about the impact of marijuana legalization on kids. “And so I think it is important that we do our best to implement the right regulatory environment and fund it.”

I had to actually laugh out loud at the "the right regulatory environment" part of the piece. As it is, kids who can't legally purchase tobacco still do so. But, yeah, I am sure none of that will happen with marijuana...yup...sure...uh-huh... What a joke!

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jerry carlton 1 year, 4 months ago

Should help bring the tourists. Come to Colorado and get stoned Dude. Maybe that can be our new state motto?

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 4 months ago

Maybe a musician could write a song about coming to Colorado and getting stoned and call it something like "Rocky Mountain High". Oh wait, that was done 40 years ago.

Maybe pot use is already widely happening despite it being illegal. Maybe the effects of using pot is less harmful to society than all of the people jailed for dealing pot.

It is possible that high school kids have been able to buy pot for years.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 1 year, 4 months ago

And so now we wait for the law of unintended consequences to kick in

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 4 months ago

Yes, just as there were unintended consequences of mmj dispensaries. The biggest unintended consequence in SB from mmj appears to be much stronger rents for warehouse space than otherwise expected after a building frenzy and a severe recession.

Pot is such an established subculture that already everyone that wants to use pot is able to use pot. It appears that mmj didn't cause a noticeable number of people to start using pot.

It does appear to have had an effect upon small time drug dealers that cannot get by from selling pot any more.

I think the unintended consequence of the pot tax law will be to cause very few to chose to open retail pot stores. If there is a 25% special retail pot tax then mmj patients are not going to be leaving the dispensary to pay 25% more in a retail shop. The cost of getting a mmj license is small compared to the extra amount an user would pay in pot taxes.

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rhys jones 1 year, 4 months ago

The People have spoken: Marijuana is our RIGHT, we put it in our Constitution, and all the sharks, pols, and pundits in Colorado can't put the genie back in the bottle, try as they might.

One "unintended consequence" of legalization is the competition it introduced to the business. Back when it was totally illegal, dealers pretty much set the price, they honored each other, and the consumer was stuck with it. Then the mmj shops came along, competing with each other -- and now, with full legalization, the private dealer finds him(or her)self competing with, not only the shops, but each other. So, all else being equal, I'll go where it's $10 or $15 cheaper; the State won't take my picture while I score, and they won't rake off their cut.

That's why I say, any "regulation" is going to have to be very user-friendly to be cost-effective at all, because the business is doing just fine without it.

And BTW -- Colorado will never become a destination for would-be stoners. Everybody in the world can find it within three blocks, if they know where to look. It'll just be another amenity.

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John St Pierre 1 year, 4 months ago

I see it now....

Visit the Beautiful Yampa Valley growing Facilities with "Rocky Mountain High Tours" .. you'll visit several "farms" sample their wares and when your done snack on one of our sepcial complimentary brownies.....

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