Marijuana Bills Before the Colorado Legislature This SessionEXPAND
Scott Lentz

Marijuana Bills Before the Colorado Legislature This Session

Eleven marijuana bills have been introduced in the Colorado Legislature so far this session, but some have already hit the chopping block. The proposals include some controversial measures, such as at-home marijuana delivery, a quick fix to a 2017 legislative error that's costing RTD and other special districts millions of dollars in funding, and the development of a tracking agent that would be applied to commercial pot plants and products.

Here are summaries of the pot-related bills at the Colorado General Assembly and their status. These descriptions were provided by sponsors when they were introduced, so there can and likely will be changes made to the measures as they move forward.

SB 021: Marijuana Closed-Loop Payment System Pilot Project

Sponsors: Senator Cheri Jahn (Unaffiliated-District 20), Senator Tim Neville (R-District 16), Representative Dan Pabon (D-District 4)

Summary: The bill creates a closed-loop payment processing system pilot project in the marijuana state licensing authority. The state licensing authority, in consultation with the state treasurer, the department of public health and environment, and the department of regulatory agencies, shall promulgate rules to establish the pilot project. The pilot project shall include marijuana-related businesses and affiliated businesses and must create a mechanism for medical marijuana patients and retail marijuana customers to enroll in the pilot project. The state licensing authority shall submit a report to the General Assembly regarding the pilot project. The bill makes the closed-loop payment processing system subject to the unclaimed property act.

Status: Postponed indefinitely by the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee on February 5.

SB 029: Development of Marijuana Tracking Technology

Sponsors: Senator Leroy Garcia (D-District 3), Senator Kent Lambert (R-District 9), Representative Dan Pabon (D-District 4), Representative Yeulin Willett (R-District 54)

Summary:
The bill requires the institute of cannabis research at Colorado State University Pueblo (institute) to develop marijuana tracking technology. The technology must include an agent that is applied to a marijuana plant, marijuana product, industrial hemp, or industrial hemp product and then scanned by a device. The scan, at a minimum, would indicate whether the marijuana or hemp was cultivated, manufactured, or sold by a licensed marijuana business or registered hemp cultivator. The institute shall select a vendor to develop the technology. After the technology is developed, the state licensing authority must be satisfied that the technology provides an effective means of tracking marijuana. After the state licensing authority determines the technology is an effective means of tracking marijuana, it shall promulgate rules that require the technology to be used by licensed marijuana businesses, and the commissioner of the Department of Agriculture shall promulgate rules that require registered industrial hemp cultivators to use the technology. The technology that scans the marijuana must be made available to law enforcement and the department of revenue.

The bill clarifies that the gray and black market marijuana enforcement grant program could award grants to law enforcement agencies to purchase the marijuana scanning technology.

Status:
Postponed indefinitely by the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee on February 7.

SB 088: Taxation of Retail Marijuana Sales

Sponsors: Senator Bob Gardner (R-District 12), Representative K.C. Becker (D-District 13)

Summary: Before the enactment of Senate Bill 17-267, the state levied 2 sales taxes on retail marijuana sales: The 2.9 percent general state sales tax levied pursuant to article 26 of title 39, C.R.S., and the retail marijuana sales tax, a 10 percent special sales tax levied on retail marijuana sales only pursuant to article 28.8 of title 39, C.R.S. Senate Bill 17-267 increased the total rate of state sales tax levied on retail marijuana sales, as authorized by prior voter approval, by exempting retail marijuana sales from the 2.9 percent general state sales tax and increasing the rate of the retail marijuana sales tax from 10 percent to 15 percent, effective July 1, 2017.

Because enabling statutes specify that the regional transportation district (RTD), the scientific and cultural facilities district (SCFD), and health services districts (HSD) may levy sales tax only on transactions upon which the state levies sales tax 'pursuant to the provisions of article 26 of title 29, C.R.S.,' the exemption of retail marijuana sales from the general state sales tax had the unintended consequence of exempting such sales from RTD, SCFD, and HSD sales taxes even though the state continues to levy the retail marijuana sales tax pursuant to article 28.8 of title 39, C.R.S. In addition, other statutes that empower certain special districts and authorities to levy sales taxes only upon transactions upon which the state levies sales tax, but do not specifically reference article 26, are sufficiently ambiguous that they could be interpreted to no longer authorize those special districts to levy sales tax on retail marijuana sales.

The bill clarifies that:

  • Retail marijuana sales remain subject to the sales taxes of the RTD, SCFD, and HSD and any other sales taxes that limited purpose governmental entities levied on retail marijuana sales before July 1, 2017; and
  • A special district or other limited purpose governmental entity that was not levying sales tax on retail marijuana before July 1, 2017, may not levy sales tax on retail marijuana sales.

Status: Approved by the House on February 9; passed final reading in the Senate February 13.

HB 1011: Marijuana Business Allow Publicly Traded Owners

Sponsors: Representative Dan Pabon (D-District 4), Senator Cheri Jahn (Unaffiliated-District 20), Senator Tim Neville (R-District 16)

Summary:
The bill redefines the terms 'direct beneficial interest' and 'permitted economic interest' so that only those who own more than 5 percent of the shares of stock in a marijuana business have to go through the disclosure and background investigations. The bill repeals the provisions that require limited passive investors to go through an initial background check. The bill repeals the provisions that limit the number of out-of-state direct beneficial owners to 15 persons. The bill repeals the provision that prohibits publicly traded entities from holding a marijuana license.

The bill states that, when the marijuana state licensing authority adopts rules related to ownership by and licensing of publicly traded companies, the rules must be substantively identical to the gaming commission rules for ownership by and licensing of publicly traded companies.

Status: Under consideration by the House Finance Committee on Monday, February 26.

HB 1023: Relocate Title 12 Marijuana To New Title 44

Sponsors: Representative Leslie Herod (D-District 8), Senator Bob Gardner (R-District 12)

Summary: Current law directs the Office of Legislative Legal Services to study the organizational recodification of title 12 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, which relates to professions and occupations. One recommendation of the study is to relocate laws located in title 12 that are administered by the Department of Revenue to a new title 44, which will consist solely of laws administered by the Department of Revenue that regulate a variety of activities.

To implement this recommendation, section 1 of the bill creates title 44 and section 2 relocates article 43.3 of title 12, medical marijuana, to a new article 11 in a new title 44, Colorado Revised Statutes; and section 3 of the bill relocates article 43.4 of title 12, retail marijuana, to a new article 12 in a new title 44, Colorado Revised Statutes. Sections 4 through 28 of the bill make conforming amendments, and section 29 repeals the articles where the law was previously codified.

Status: Passed third reading in the House on January 30; under consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, February 21.

HB 1053: Reclaimed Water Use for Marijuana Cultivation

Sponsors: Representative Jeni James Arndt (D-District 53), Representative Chris Hansen (D-District 6), Senator Kerry Donovan (D-District 5)

Summary: The bill codifies rules promulgated by the Water Quality Control commission (commission) of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment concerning allowable uses of reclaimed domestic wastewater, which is wastewater that has been treated for subsequent reuses other than drinking water. Section 3 of the bill defines 3 categories of water quality standards for reclaimed domestic wastewater, sets forth the allowable uses for each water quality standard category, and adds marijuana cultivation as an allowable use for reclaimed domestic wastewater. Section 3 also authorizes the commission to establish new categories of water quality standards and to recategorize any use of reclaimed domestic wastewater to a less stringent category of water quality standard. Section 3 also authorizes the division of administration in the department of public health and environment to grant variances for uses of reclaimed domestic wastewater. Sections 1, 2, and 4 make conforming amendments.

Status: Amended; referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

HB 1062: Sales Tax on Retail Marijuana

Sponsors: Representative Steve Lebsock (D-District 34)

Summary: On March 1, 2018, the bill repeals the general state sales tax exemption for sales of retail marijuana and reduces the retail marijuana sales tax by 2.9 percent from 15 percent to 12.1 percent. With the repeal of the state exemption, sales of retail marijuana will automatically be subject to the sales tax levied by a limited purpose governmental entity whose sales tax authority is the same as the state.

Currently, statutory municipalities and counties are authorized to create an exemption for sales of retail marijuana that are exempt from the state general sales tax. Along with the repeal of the state exemption, this contingent authority is repealed.

Status: Postponed indefinitely by the House Finance Committee on February 7.

HB 1092: Marijuana Delivery Pilot Project

Sponsors: Representative Jovan Melton (D-District 41), Representative Jonathan Singer (D-District 11), Senator Tim Neville (R-District 16)

Summary: The bill creates a pilot program to allow marijuana delivery. The marijuana state licensing authority can enter into a memorandum of understanding with up to 3 municipalities to allow medical and retail marijuana delivery. The state licensing authority can adopt rules regarding marijuana delivery and can issue up to 15 marijuana delivery licenses.

Status: Amended; referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

HB 1101: Retail Marijuana Sales Tax Appropriations for Schools

Sponsors: Representative Millie Hamner (D-District 61), Senator Kent Lambert (R-District 9)

Summary:
The bill eliminates the continuous appropriation of the revenue in the state fiscal year in which it is transferred to the state public school fund and instead specifies that beginning in state fiscal year 2019-20, the general assembly may appropriate all or any portion of the revenue transferred to the state public school fund during the prior state fiscal year to the department of education to help meet the state share of total program funding for school districts and institute charter schools.

Status: Passed third reading in the House February 6; under consideration by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

HB 1133: Marijuana Processor Registration

Sponsors: Representative Steve Lebsock (D-District 34), Senator Vicki Marble (R-District 23)

Summary: The bill creates a registration in both the medical marijuana and retail marijuana codes for a fibrous waste recycling facility. A fibrous waste recycling facility takes marijuana waste and makes it into industrial products like rope, paper, and building material. The state licensing authority shall issue the registration to an applicant if the applicant demonstrates that its processes render the fibrous waste unusable as medical or retail marijuana.The bill creates a registration in both the medical marijuana and retail marijuana codes for a fibrous waste recycling facility. A fibrous waste recycling facility takes marijuana waste and makes it into industrial products like rope, paper, and building material. The state licensing authority shall issue the registration to an applicant if the applicant demonstrates that its processes render the fibrous waste unusable as medical or retail marijuana.

Status: Under consideration by the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee.

HB 1187: Food and Drug Administration Cannabidiol Drug Use

Sponsors: Representative Janet Buckner (D-District 40), Representative Lois Landgraf (R-District 21), Senator John Cooke (R-District 13), Senator Dominick Moreno (D-District 21)

Summary: The bill makes it clear that if the United States Food and Drug Administration approves a prescription medicine that contains cannabidiol, thereafter, prescribing, dispensing, transporting, possessing, and using that prescription drug is legal in Colorado.

Status: Under consideration by the House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee on Tuesday, February 20.

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