Marijuana legislative update: Dispensary tax deductions and more

Yesterday we told you about HB 1114, the THC DUI bill, which is headed to the floor of the House, where it could come up for approval as early as this week before being sent off to the Senate.

While that and the pending legislation surrounding Amendment 64 are hot topics, a few lesser-known marijuana industry bills are creeping their way through the state legislature.

House Bill 1061, also known as the Responsible Medical Marijuana Vendor Program bill, passed final reading last month and has been sent to the governor for his final approval and signature.

The bill didn't see much controversy, likely because it really doesn't seem to do very much to begin with. As we pointed out last month, the legislation would create the framework for responsible vendor programs in the state, but doesn't require any dispensary or infused product manufacturer to actually participate in them.

Critics say the bill paves the way for such programs to become mandatory down the line, adding an additional layer of bureaucracy to the already convoluted medical marijuana program.

House Bill 1042, the medical marijuana tax reform bill, is also moving forward after stalling in the House Appropriations Committee in February. It gained approval on second reading in the House earlier today. If passed and signed, it will allow medical marijuana and recreational marijuana business owners to make business deductions related to their marijuana venture on their state tax returns. Currently, state tax return are based on federal returns, which do not allow for marijuana-related deductions.

According to the fiscal report on 1042, the bill could mean as much as $830,000 in general fund revenue reductions. It will cost around $337,333 and require at least one new full-time employee to implement over the next three years.

Approving 1042 is also among the recommendations from the Amendment 64 Task Force and Joint Committee, assigned to create the rules surrounding Amendment 64, which legalized small amounts of marijuana use, possession and cultivation, as well as establishing a recreational marijuana industry.

A third bill that has been overshadowed this session, HB 1238, would transfer $2.5 million from the state Medical Marijuana Enforcement Program to the Department of Human Services to be used for marijuana and prescription drug-abuse treatment programs. The money would come from state licensing and application fees. The bill last saw action on March 19, when it was sent to appropriations.

A fourth marijuana industry-related bill would require annual $100 inspections of commercial and caregiver gardens by local fire departments. SB 051 bill would allow fire departments access to the confidential medical marijuana database to locate the caregivers -- of which there are only a dozen currently registered with the state. The bill hasn't moved since being sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee in mid-January.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Cannabis Time Capsule, 1921: Marijuana use worse than opium addiction" and "Marijuana: Smart Colorado wants to ban retail pot shops -- or does it?"

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