Later today, representatives of Colorado NORML will meet with governor's office staffers about Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act. As NORML's Sean McAllister told us yesterday, they'll stress the need for cannabis consumers to have a seat at the table -- and a statement about a proposed task force subsequently shared by the guv's spokesman implies that John Hickenlooper is looking for input from a broad range of folks.
As McAllister pointed out, Hickenlooper and other legislators have floated the idea of a bipartisan commission to develop A64 guidelines -- and he believes such a group shouldn't be homogeneous.
"There should be representation from non-legislators," he told us, "and it shouldn't be dominated by law enforcement. There need to be advocates on behalf of consumers."
The subsequent statement, credited to governor's office spokesman Eric Brown, doesn't specifically mention consumers. However, its language certainly doesn't exclude them, leaving open the possibility that groups like NORML will be able to take part in the process. It reads:
We are working to create a task force to identify the policy, legal and procedural issues that need to be resolved related to Amendment 64. The task force will be charged with offering suggestions for legislative and executive actions that need to be taken for the effective and efficient implementation of the amendment. The task force will include lawmakers, state agency representatives, stakeholders, marijuana advocates and others. We expect to have more details about the task force ready to announce soon.
The timeline is vague, but the launch of the task force is likely to dovetail with Hickenlooper's signing of the bill, expected to take place on or before the first week of January.
In the meantime, concerned parties continue to wait for a statement from the U.S. Justice Department about whether or not the federal government will attempt to stop the implementation of Amendment 64, which contradicts current DEA policies. In a conference call with Attorney General Eric Holder earlier this month, Hickenlooper and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers asked that the feds come to a decision promptly. Here's Brown's statement about the chat, released on November 9.
Governor John Hickenlooper and Attorney General John Suthers talked to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder by phone today. They emphasized the need for the federal government to articulate what its position will be related to Amendment 64. Everyone shared a sense of urgency and agreed to continue talking about the issue.
The task force's conversation will be shaped in large part by this response. But McAllister already has some ideas about consumer-oriented topics in need of discussion by the task force.
"We want to make sure there's no registry of names or overly burdensome record keeping -- like something showing that John Smith smokes two ounces a month," McAllister said. "We want to protect consumers' privacy in the process.
"Obviously, consumers had a major role in the approval of Amendment 64, and we want to make sure they're represented to the maximum amount possible," he added. "That's what we're seeking."
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And they may just get it.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Amendment 64: Marijuana consumers need a seat at the table, says Colorado NORML."