Status Report: Pot Bills Before the Legislature This YearEXPAND
Scott Lentz

Status Report: Pot Bills Before the Legislature This Year

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, dispensary tasting rooms, 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

Prime 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

Prime 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

Prime 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: Passed final reading in the Senate on February 13; signed into law on February 22.

SB 186: Allow Retail Marijuana Store to Sell Consumables

Prime Sponsors: Senator Vicki Marble (R-District 23)

Summary: Under current law, a retail marijuana store is prohibited from selling any consumable product other than a retail marijuana product. The bill removes that prohibition.

Status: Postponed indefinitely by the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee on March 19.

SB 187: Marijuana Waste Recycling

Prime sponsors: Senator Vicki Marble (R-District 23), Senator Jack Tate (R-District 27), Representative Jeni James Arndt (D-District 53)

Summary: The bill gives the state licensing authority rule-making authority to address conditions under which a medical or retail marijuana licensee is authorized to transfer marijuana fibrous waste to a person for the purpose of producing only industrial fiber products.

Status: Passed third reading in Senate on March 19; introduced to the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee on March 22.

SB 211: Marijuana Consumption Club License

Prime sponsors: Representative Jovan Melton (D-District 41), Senator Vicki Marble (R-District 23)

Summary: The bill creates a marijuana consumption club (club) license. The license is subject to the same licensing requirements as other retail marijuana licenses. The license may be issued to a person who operates an establishment where retail marijuana or retail marijuana products may be sold and consumed. The club's sales are limited to the same limits as a retail marijuana store. The club may not serve food prepared on site or alcohol. Entry to the club is restricted to those persons at least 21 years of age. A club shall purchase its retail marijuana or retail marijuana products from a licensed marijuana business or get a cultivation license and sell its own marijuana. A club may not permit outside marijuana or marijuana products. All retail marijuana or retail marijuana products must be consumed or disposed of on site. A club and its employees shall successfully complete a responsible vendor program annually. A club has the same immunity to a lawsuit for an injury caused by a club patron that a bar enjoys.

The bill allows a local government to permit clubs in its jurisdiction. If a local government permits clubs, it shall adopt an approval or licensing requirement. In order to operate as a club, the club must comply with the local and state licensing regulations. A club is exempt from the 'Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act' for marijuana consumption purposes if it is fully ventilated. Public display, consumption, or use of marijuana in a club is not a criminal offense.

Status: Under consideration by the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee on April 2.

HB 1011: Marijuana Business Allow Publicly Traded Owners

Prime 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 floor on April 6.

HB 1023: Relocate Title 12 Marijuana To New Title 44

Prime 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 final House reading on March 15; signed into law on March 22.

HB 1053: Reclaimed Water Use for Marijuana Cultivation

Prime 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

Prime 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

Prime ponsors: 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; passed third House reading on March 22. Under consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB 1101: Retail Marijuana Sales Tax Appropriations for Schools

Prime 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 final House reading on March 5; signed into law on March 15.

HB 1133: Marijuana Processor Registration

Prime 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.

Status: Postponed indefinitely by the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee on February 23.

HB 1187: Food and Drug Administration Cannabidiol Drug Use

Prime 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.

HB 1258: Marijuana Accessory Consumption Establishments

Prime sponsors: Representative Jovan Melton (D-District 41), Representative Jonathan Singer (D-District 11), Senator Tim Neville (R-District 16), Senator Stephen Fenberg (D-District 18)

Summary: The bill authorizes each licensed medical marijuana center or retail marijuana store to establish one medical or retail marijuana accessory consumption establishment (establishment) that may sell marijuana, marijuana concentrate, and marijuana-infused products for consumption, other than smoking, at the establishment. The bill contains requirements for obtaining endorsements, authorizing an establishment, and required actions and prohibited actions for persons operating an establishment.

Status: Amended; passed the House Finance Committee on March 19 and referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

HB 1259: Marijuana Sample for Quality Product Development

Prime Sponsors: Representative Matt Gray (D- District 33), Senator Vicki Marble (R-District 23)

Summary: The bill permits a medical marijuana optional premises cultivation licensee, a medical marijuana-infused products manufacturing licensee, a retail marijuana cultivation facility licensee, and a retail marijuana products manufacturing licensee to provide samples to managers for quality control and product development purposes. The bill specifies limits on the amount that can be provided as a sample per batch. The bill prohibits the licensee from:

  • Allowing the manager to consume the sample on site;
  • Allowing the manager to exceed his or her personal possession limits;
  • Providing or reselling the sample to another licensed employee, individual, or customer; and
  • Using the sample as a means of compensating the manager.

Status: Passed third House reading on March 19; under consideration by the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee on April 2.

HB 1263: Medical Marijuana Use for Autism and Acute Pain

Prime sponsors: Representative Edie Hooton (D-District 10), Representative Jovan Melton (D-District 41), Senator Don Coram (R-District 6), Senator Stephen Fenberg (D-District 18)

Summary: The bill adds autism spectrum disorders and acute pain to the list of disabling medical conditions that authorize a person to use medical marijuana for his or her condition.

Status:
Under consideration by the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee on April 5.

HB 1280: Court Appointees For Marijuana Businesses

Prime sponsors: Representative Jovan Melton (D-District 41)

Summary: Under current law, there are no provisions that specifically address what happens to a regulated marijuana business when a representative is appointed for the business. The bill requires a potential appointee to certify to the court prior to the appointment that he or she is suitable to hold a marijuana business license. After the appointment, the appointee shall apply to the state licensing authority for a finding of suitability. The state licensing authority must provide the appointee with a temporary appointee registration after receiving notification of the initial appointment. The bill gives the state licensing authority rule-making authority regarding temporary appointee registrations.

Status: Referred to the House Appropriations Committee on March 26; under consideration.

HB 1286: School Nurse Give Medical Marijuana at School

Prime sponsors: Representative Dylan Roberts (D-District 26), Senator Irene Aguilar (D-District 32), Senator Vicki Marble (R-District 23)

Summary: Under current law, a primary caregiver may possess and administer medical marijuana in a nonsmokeable form to a student while the student is at school. The bill allows a school nurse or the school nurse's designee, who may or may not be an employee of the school, to also possess and administer medical marijuana to a student at school. The bill provides a school nurse or the school nurse's designee protection from criminal prosecution if he or she possesses and administers medical marijuana to a student at school.

Status: Under consideration by the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee on April 5.

HB 1336: Repeal Local Government Retail Marijuana Impact Grant Program

Prime sponsors: Representative Dave Young (D-District 50), Senator Kent Lambert (R-District 9)

Summary: On July 1, 2019, the bill repeals the local government retail marijuana impact grant program, under which the department of local affairs (department) awards grants to eligible local governments for documented marijuana impacts. Any encumbered money from the fiscal year 2017-18 appropriation to the department remains available for expenditure in the next fiscal year. The bill also repeals a reporting requirement regarding the effectiveness of the grant program.

Status: Passed second House reading on March 28 and referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

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