We’ve brought in our resident expert, attorney and author of “Colorado Medical Marijuana Law”, Ann Toney to answer questions about what this means to Coloradans and what are the next steps. Please feel free to ask Ann your own questions in the comment section.
1. Q: So, A64 passed, making Colorado and Washington the first states in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use. What do we know about the law right now?
A: Well, first, it will take between 30 and 60 days for the votes for the new amendment to be “certified” before the new constitutional Amendment will take effect.
2. Q: Does the law say anything about how marijuana is to be sold and taxed?
A: Yes, in section (5)(d) it states that “The General Assembly shall enact an excise tax to be levied upon marijuana sold or otherwise transferred by a marijuana cultivation facility to a marijuana product manufacturing facility or to a retail marijuana store at a rate not to exceed fifteen percent prior to January 1, 2017 and at a rate to be determined by the General Assembly thereafter.”
In the text of Amendment 64 under definitions, (2) (n) “ ‘Retail Marijuana Store‘ means an entity licensed to purchase marijuana from marijuana cultivation facilities and marijuana and marijuana products from marijuana product manufacturing facilities and to sell marijuana and marijuana products to consumers.”
3. Q: Last week, Larimer County dropped its ban on medical marijuana dispensaries – do you think other local jurisdictions will follow suit?
4. Q: What do you see as some of the immediate fallout or consequences of the law in terms of retail shops, grow operations, and any infrastructure currently in place to regulate medical marijuana?
A: I believe, and I have always believed, they will be in an excellent position to transition into a retail shop for 21 and older customers. While the Amendment sets out an application process to be able to qualify as an entity to cultivate or sell retail marijuana, it will be up to the legislature to set up the guidelines and then it will be up to the Department of Revenue to promulgate the regulations. We will just have to see what, if any, deference they give to existing Optional Premises Cultivation Operations, Centers, or Marijuana Infused Product Manufacturers. These existing medical marijuana businesses already have frameworks to be able to come into immediate compliance with any new laws.
5. Q: There has been a lot of speculation that the federal Department of Justice will file lawsuits in Colorado and Washington to stop the Amendment from being made into law. What’s your take on the likelihood of that?
A: I think the best indicator is history. Look at the role the Federal government has taken on over the last three years in Colorado in response the burgeoning medical marijuana businesses. I do not anticipate a significant response from the Federal government except maybe to remove Cannabis from Schedule 1 status which would allow them to save face in not pursuing excessive prosecutions.
Please feel free to comment on any of these questions and answers or ask your own below. Ann will be back next week for more discussion on Amendment 64.