Marijuana changes advance in Colorado legislature
Ryan Summerlin May 7, 2014
DENVER — Colorado lawmakers neared agreement Monday on a series of marijuana spending and regulation plans, all modest proposals compared with last year’s splashy set of pot bills to regulate the state’s new industry.
Legislators finished work on legislation to adjust possession limits on concentrated marijuana such as hash, along with a bill to spend $10 million in excess medical marijuana fees to study the health effects of the drug.
Without debate, the House voted 60-5 Monday in favor of allowing the Health Department to spend excess fee collections on grants to study marijuana. Colorado would still need federal approval for medical-marijuana-related research at state colleges.
A spokesman for Gov. John Hickenlooper did not immediately say Monday whether the governor planned to approve the move.
One of the most divisive marijuana measures of the term is changes to how edible marijuana products are made. The bill would require edibles to be stamped with child warnings and given uniform colors or shapes.
Lawmakers also sent the governor a bill to cap possession limits for concentrated marijuana such as hash. Currently, Colorado allows people over 21 to have an ounce of marijuana, in any form. The bill directs marijuana regulators to set an “equivalency” standard of how much concentrated pot can be made from an ounce of marijuana flower.
Three more bills related to marijuana neared approval Monday with little debate.
“I think you’ll see a lot of consensus on the remaining bills at this point,” said Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont and sponsor of several of the measures.
One of the most divisive marijuana measures of the term is changes to how edible marijuana products are made. The bill would require edibles to be stamped with child warnings and given uniform colors or shapes. The House approved it, but the Senate altered the bill to say the changes would be studied but not required.
Singer expected the House to agree to study the revision, but not require it.
“We were just cracking the whip on them. I think we sent our message,” Singer said.
Still awaiting debate were bills on spending marijuana taxes, mostly on drug education and prevention, and allowing pot businesses to form financial cooperatives to provide basic banking services if federal authorities agree. Neither was expected to generate much opposition.
“We’re really dealing with the nuts and bolts of marijuana,” Singer said.