Ask a Stoner, 4/20 edition: Pot critic William Breathes answers your cannabis queries

See also: How marijuana activist Mason Tvert stirs the pot

Ask a Stoner, 4/20 edition: Pot critic William Breathes answers your cannabis queries

Amendment 64 may have legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado, but it also raised many new questions. We created Ask a Stoner to try to provide some answers. Here's our special 4/20 edition.

Dear Stoner: Who is in charge here? What's going on? Why can't I buy joints at 7-Eleven yet? We need answers, man!

Voters approved Amendment 64 on November 6, 2012, and Governor John Hickenlooper signed it into law on December 10, making it legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and cultivate as many as three sprouts and three flowering plants at a time. It also became legal for adults to purchase marijuana at state-regulated stores. But in order for that to happen, the state has to create regulations to govern the recreational marijuana industry.

See also:
- How marijuana activist Mason Tvert stirs the pot
- Where to party in Denver on 4/20

Hickenlooper created a 24-member task force to look at the issue and come up with suggestions for the legislators who would draft the laws. After weeks of deliberation, at the end of February the task force released a sixteen-point plan covering everything from home cultivation to criminal law to taxation and — most important — the structure of the industry and regulatory model. That report was handed over to a special Joint Select Committee (no pun intended) of members of the Colorado House and Senate, who have to come up with proposals — and get them passed — before the 2013 legislative session ends May 8.

The committee wrapped up its work on April 8 and announced that it would be condensing the task force's recommendations into three bills: one comprising all of the unanimously agreed-upon rules, a second comprising all of the majority recommendations that may still need some ironing out in the legislature, and a third related to all of the tax-policy questions.

If things go as planned — and there are still three more weeks in this legislative session — the Department of Revenue should begin processing applications for retail operations by October 1, 2013, with a ninety-day time limit, so January 2014 is likely to be the earliest you'll see a marijuana store in Colorado. Local municipalities that haven't banned marijuana businesses will have until October 1 of this year to get their own licensing processes in place.

Dear Stoner: Who is going to play big brother in this whole legal-weed thing?

Amendment 64 calls for the Department of Revenue to handle regulating the new industry. The most likely scenario is that the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division will add recreational marijuana to its purview. That's despite a recent state audit that documented the MMED's record of reckless spending and financial mismanagement: During nineteen straight months of losses, it spent $2.3 million on expensive SUVs, computers and office furniture — including $4,200 alone on four chairs.

Meanwhile, the DOR still has to handle about half of the 1,024 dispensary, edibles-kitchen and grow applications it's received since 2010, when the MMED officially began processing them per state law. It took an average of 23 months to license the 400 or so applications that have actually gone through the entire process. And the DOR has also dropped the ball on several regulatory fronts, including background-checking dispensary owners. Department of Revenue chief Barbara Brohl told the Joint Select Committee that the majority of the division's problems stem from underfunding, hence the need for a sales tax of up to 15 percent on recreational marijuana. According to Brohl, predictability in funding would help stabilize the department and get things up to speed.

Despite concerns raised by the audit, the committee still seems to prefer this model, which was suggested by the task force; the only suggested change is that the DOR be required to report annually to the House and Senate finance committees.

Dear Stoner: Where is all of the ganja in the shops going to come from? Would I be able to just be a commercial grower and sell to any dispensary I want?

In the legislative committee, another contentious debate involved whether each marijuana store had to grow its own supply. That is currently the case with the medical marijuana industry, where dispensaries have to grow at least 70 percent of the medicine they sell in a system known as vertical integration; the remaining 30 percent can be purchased from another center or grow operation. The legislature approved that model in 2010's House Bill 1284, which set up rules for the medical marijuana industry. But critics of vertical integration say that if Amendment 64 were truly designed to regulate marijuana like alcohol, the system should resemble the alcohol industry, which has manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

Business owners and lobbyists are split. Michael Elliot, who's with the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, which reportedly represents up to fifty medical marijuana businesses in the state, told Westword that vertical integration is a safety measure to make sure that marijuana isn't being diverted out the back door of grow operations that can't make ends meet selling through legal channels. Elliot also argues that systems like vertical integration have kept federal interference in the medical marijuana industry to a minimum.

But many small-business owners say that they would rather leave the growing to the experts and not have that overhead to manage. "We just don't need it — it's garbage; it's anti-free market," says Rico Colibri, founder of the Cannabis Alliance for Regulation and Education, a group that was against Amendment 64 but now lobbies for looser regulations than currently exist for medical marijuana. "The only thing that's going to keep the feds out is by making it so big and so valuable that it can't go. I think that vertical [integration] was just complete nonsense made up by some of these industry groups."

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31 comments
Steve Holmberg
Steve Holmberg

Jake...who really gives a shit about what you think?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 "While the hot summer sun and cool nights make parts of Colorado perfect for knocking out a few quick-flowering outdoor cannabis plants, the laws probably won't allow for it — not the way you grow sunflowers and tomatoes, at least. Instead, any marijuana plants would have to be grown inside a locked, enclosed space covered on all sides, including the top. "

Where's that lying know-nothing shitbag Sucka1 ?


muzzylu
muzzylu

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Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

"The catch is that voters would have to approve the taxes because of TABOR, since Amendment 64 wasn't written to create a tax."

Go fish. I voted against A64 because of the tax-and-regulate monstrosity, among other reasons. I'll vote against the tax. The bureaucrats and politicians weren't square with us, and they'll save a boatload if they break down fewer doors and put fewer people in jail. I don't see any reason to pay for them to bankroll a new Gestapo.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Q: Why are so many bong-sucking stoners so punkishly puerile,  stunningly ignorant, daftly delusional and pathetically illiterate?

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

How ironic that the government agency charged with protecting people from an "irresponsible" pot market is, itself, criminally (in my opinion) irresponsible! The ironic label on this agency's seal? "The Medical Marijuana Criminal Enforcement Division." Yup, all you patients and providers are criminals they just haven't put behind bars yet, and so will be A64 recreational consumers.

http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/medical%20marijuana%20enforcement%20division%20badge.jpg

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

FYI, it doesn't matter if all six plants are non-flowering. I say this, because people who juice it for CBD in the high-CBD strains juice the leaves, or so I've read. The law states, six plants, up to three flowering.

MontyPython
MontyPython

@DonkeyHotay because that happens every year. Why are you so insistent on arguing over the internet on a site you hate?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident 

Bongsucker Billy thinks that being a pot critic -- a dope-addled stoner -- it makes him a legal expert too ... LOL!

Fact is, the voters DID approve the MASSIVE $40,000,000.00+ annual excise tax that A64 promissed, when they voted for A64.

The Voters have Spoken! -- Tax THE SHIT out of Marijuana!

**** REGULATION WORKS !! -- get Regulated, Bitches! ****

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident ... it actually states  " WITH THREE OR FEWER BEING MATURE, FLOWERING PLANTS"

... if you actually bothered to read, much less comprehend, the law.

ProTip: as opposed to IMMATURE flowering plants.

Hope that helps.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Pete @Matt_in_Boulder @DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident 

Mattie must be following Stupid Stuka1's moronic legal interpretations,  where he asserts among other laughably ignorant idiocies that dictionaries are primary sources of law, that outside is the same as inside, and that ALL criminal marijuana statutes are superseded by A64 and now become merely CIVIL violations, claiming the Repuglycan Rapist Convicted Criminal Rob Corry told him so.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Matt_in_Boulder = still not the sharpest tack in the box.

Plants can -- and do -- exhibit immature flowers, as opposed to mature flowers.

Plants can form precocious flowers due to stress/shock long before they have completed their normal vegetative phase, as any experienced grower knows.

That supposedly educated lawyers deliberately used 2 (two) modifying adjectives to describe the plants in question would indicate that they chose to explicitly differentiate the restriction from simply "flowering plants".

Or perhaps the McLawyers in question -- Vicente, Sederberg, et. al. -- are merely illiterate simpletons who arbitrarily spew meaningless words and terms into something as trivial as a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT!


Matt_in_Boulder
Matt_in_Boulder

@DonkeyHotay @Pete @Matt_in_Boulder @Cognitive_Dissident  

Feel free to play armchair judge all you want, but you better set aside some $$$ for your buddy Rob Corry if you plan to push the limits on the definition of "mature".  

I would bet my entire outdoor harvest that if a cop visits your grow and finds more than 3 flowering plants (per adult, assuming no MMJ increased plant count) you will get the opportunity to argue your definition in court. 


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Pete @Matt_in_Boulder @DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident 

Exactly, the EXTRA adjective "mature" adds additional qualification to "flowering plants" ...

... when are oranges "mature" ? ... when they first appear as green, sour little balls, or when they are ready for harvest and use?

... when are rose flowers "mature"? ... when they first appear as bud sites, or when they are ready for harvest and use?

Pete
Pete

@Matt_in_Boulder @Pete @DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident In that case I will be exercising my 5th amendment rights and letting my lawyer make the argument to the DA.  Cops will do what cops will do, no reason to talk to them about anything.  

If you have two adults living in your home, growing a measly 6 female plants is now safer than ever for the homegrower not planning to sell.  But the additional argument of how "mature" is defined doesn't hurt your case at all.

Matt_in_Boulder
Matt_in_Boulder

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident  

HipTip Donkey - cannabis is incapable of flowering until it reaches sexual maturity.   So "mature, flowering" is a bit redundant.

Try this little experiment on for size.  Take a cutting off of a plant that is at least 45 days old, root it out.  Take a seed of the same strain, pop it and wait until it emerges from the soil.  Now put them bother under 12/12 light and see what happens.  

Your cutting will be flowering long before your seedling.  Difference = maturity.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident = reading compression FAIL again.

The adjective "mature" modifying "flowering plants" further narrows the exclusion. 

Translation -- you can have up to 6 flowering plants, as long as those 6 flowering plants are not "mature" flowering plants.



 
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