Marijuana Enforcement Division Mulling Some Big Changes

Over the past several weeks, dozens of politicians, state administrators, doctors and industry stakeholders have been meeting and discussing potential game-changing rules for Colorado’s marijuana industry — all of which will be presented at a hearing at the end of the month, when public feedback will be sought.

As part of the state Marijuana Enforcement Division’s 2015 Rulemaking Session, six different working groups have met to “discuss, deliberate and provide suggestions” before the MED begins drafting new regulations. Issues such as commercial production limits, the sale or transfer of cannabis business licenses and the never-ending saga of edibles packaging have all been addressed in some form, and they include changes that could affect pot shopping, from the grow warehouse to the shelf.

Although discussion of House Bill 14-1366 (which is scheduled to take effect in January 2016 and could result in the labeling of all marijuana edibles with a red stop sign containing the letters “THC”) has received most of the attention — and ire — from marijuana industry advocates, proposed changes to record-keeping, potency variances and hemp testing could all cause rippling effects to the state’s pot bubble.

One of the rules changes would widen the scope on inventory tracking, requiring pot business employees to log more of their actions. In addition, retail establishments that were connected in some way to a crime would have to report any future suspected crimes or compromised integrity. On top of that, the transfer of plants between retail facilities would be strictly limited. And the number of times that a non-consumer visits a marijuana business would be monitored in an attempt to flush out non-licensed employees from working under the table a few days out of the week.

In a win for the hemp crowd, recreational marijuana testing facilities with proper certification would be allowed to receive and test samples of industrial hemp from state-registered hemp farmers (although unregistered cultivators are still out of luck).

Another potential change would make consumers’ edibles experiences a little harder to predict, as the potency variance on cannabinoid products would be allowed to increase to plus-or-minus 15 percent. All testing results, both for contaminants and potency, would also have to be labeled on products — though the state still wouldn’t require product testing as long as products are labeled with a warning stating that it hasn’t been done.

There will be a public hearing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, August 31 (and continuing to September 1, if necessary) at the State Capitol to discuss the proposed rule changes. Submit your comments to [email protected] or use the MED’s written comment form by September 1 if you want your opinions known. Get more information about the proposed rule changes at
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for
Contact: Thomas Mitchell