Matt Brown: Is the marijuana jar half full?
Matt Brown: Is the marijuana jar half full?

Medical marijuana bill: Matt Brown actually likes most of Chris Romer's new amendments

Earlier today, we told you about five new amendments being floated by Senator Chris Romer and others in relation to HB 1284, the medical marijuana regulatory bill, which the senate is scheduled to debate today.

Just last week, Coloradans for Medical Marijuana Regulation's Matt Brown declared that "enough was enough" when it came to tweaking the much-fussed-over legislation. But the latest changes actually meet his approval, more or less. In a new e-mail to supporters, he writes, "Overall, these amendments all seem to improve the bill from where it stands going into the Senate floor."

He adds, "If implemented correctly, HB1284 offers Colorado the ability to lead the nation in rational medical marijuana policy. However, if the implementation is rushed, HB1284 threatens hundreds of Colorado small businesses and thousands of Colorado jobs." Read the entire note below:

Today the Senate will have the full floor debate ("2nd Reading") on HB1284, and we anticipate a number of new amendments to be offered during this debate. As was reported yesterday by Westword, Sen. Romer will be introducing several new amendments, and I have attached them to this email. Overall, these amendments all seem to improve the bill from where it stands going into the Senate floor.

One important change is a proposal to allow "Infused Product" manufacturers to have their own in-house grow (amendment L150). The restriction seems to be that this grow would not be allowed to produce "smokable bud" for sale in a dispensary, but they would be allowed to grow whatever plants are needed to make their edibles, tinctures, lotions, etc. I'm waiting to get more details on this plan, but it seems to be a huge new opportunity for independent growers and infused products manufacturers.

Today's Senate session begins at 9am and HB1284 is 15th on the agenda. Not everything ahead of it will take a long time, but HB1284 will likely be up well over an hour into the session. If you would like to follow along with the Senate debate, a live video stream is available at:

http://colorado-senate.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=2

Last Friday, I had a chance to watch the floor debate on another of Sen Romer's bills, a bill to limit the interest charged by payday loan companies. I noticed that more than once during the floor debate, a Republican went to the podium and read an email they had "just received" from someone working at a payday lender. Story after story of employees at payday loan companies that would lose their job if this bill passed were read to other Senators - often directly off iPhones and Blackberries.

If you are watching the Senate debate online today, e-mail the Senators that understand our position. Ask your accountant for a list of the people your dispensary does business with and ask them to email their Senators. Ask your employees to contact their Senator to say how important their jobs are. If you have an email list of your patients, please ask them to contact their Senator too. Today's vote will effect more than just patients and providers, it will effect every other business that works with us and everyone needs to voice their support TODAY. At it's core, HB1284 is a reasonable set of regulations for our industry, but many of the last-minute changes over the past week threaten to undermine this bill.

If implemented correctly, HB1284 offers Colorado the ability to lead the nation in rational medical marijuana policy. However, if the implementation is rushed, HB1284 threatens hundreds of Colorado small businesses and thousands of Colorado jobs. As I mentioned on Monday, "the marijuana vote" has expanded in Colorado to include everyone who does business with our industry, and TODAY is the day we need to make this vote known!

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