Filed Under (Medical Marijuana) on 10-18-2012
With Colorado voters sharply divided over Amendment 64, it’s ripe time to consider how the legal use of small amounts of marijuana would affect Colorado’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry and regulatory structure.
Amendment 64 would change the Colorado state constitution to allow adults 21 and older to use and possess small amounts of pot. Under A64, facilities for cultivation, product manufacturing, testing and retailing would be state-licensed. The state would collect taxes on marijuana sales.
A recent Denver post poll found A64 leaning towards passage, but the margin of support is shrinking.
Should A64 pass, it defies logic to think that Colorado would re-invent the existing infrastructure to regulate medical marijuana and replace it with a new regulatory structure. The legislature has poured countless hours and energy into writing statues and regulations for the orderly and controlled growing and sale of medical marijuana. Most of those controls would easily and effectively translate to the government implementation of the new freedoms allowed under A64. Moreover, there is a division of government, Department of Revenue, Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division, which could assume the additional role of policing A64 freedoms.
Further, some or all of the existing medical marijuana centers could act as storefronts for the purchase of this newly legal marijuana. The existing Optional Premises Cultivation Operations (OPCO) could produce marijuana for legal sale as they have been producing for medical marijuana sales.
It remains to be seen, if A64 passes, if patients will continue to apply for medical marijuana cards. I suspect that with no good reason to jump through hoops, patients will simply purchase their medicine without special requirements to which they must currently adhere. What do you think?