Earlier this week, marijuana attorney Warren Edson gave us his first take on the House-approved draft of HB 13-1317, the main regulatory measure pertaining to the implementation of Amendment 64. Now, after weighing in on issues like vertical integration for retail pot shops and temporary exclusivity for existing MMJ centers, he's had a chance to dig further into the massive document (on view below) -- and he found a number of weird items pertaining to topics ranging from edibles to weed magazines.
A shockingly large chunk of the latest draft -- around twenty pages out of 86 total -- pertains to a THC driving standard. Read the entire document below.
As we've reported, a bill to establish an intoxication standard of five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood -- a limit based on what critics see as dubious or nonexistent evidence -- was voted down by the Senate Judiciary Committee. (The Senate rejected similar bills in 2011 and 2012.) But the concept still has a lot of support in the House and among law enforcement groups, who wrote in a letter to Governor John Hickenlooper and other officials that passing legislation without the THC standard would be irresponsible. Hence, the hefty amendment to HB 1317.
Is any of this material new? Not at all, says Edson, and some of it even predates the previous failed bills.
"It's just the same, regurgitated stuff from the original bill," he notes, "but they made it bigger and broader by absorbing the standard DUI language. All they did was cut and paste the DUI statutes we've already got on the books into the bill." As such, "it's basically the same five nanogram standard that we've all been complaining about -- and if it passes, it's going to wind up with folks being prosecuted who aren't intoxicated."
The Senate can still strip out this language, and is likely to do so. But given that legislators are in the closing sprint to the May 8 end of the session, Edson isn't taking anything for granted.
Another odd segment pertains to marijuana magazines. It calls for "a requirement that magazines whose primary focus is marijuana or marijuana businesses are only sold in retail marijuana stores or behind the counter in establishments where persons under twenty-one years of age are present."
In other words, a convenience store wanting to stock publications such as High Times or THC Magazine won't be able to do so in standard racks easily accessible to customers. Rather, issues will be next to porno mags, with their covers presumably shielded to protect children -- and customers will have to ask clerks to grab copies for them.
This edict leaves Edson slack-jawed.
Continue for more about oddities in the marijuana regulation bill, including the complete document. Amendment 64 proponents "said to regulate marijuana like alcohol," he notes, "but apparently, our legislature wants to regulate it like porn.
"How many beer brewing and distilling magazines are in the racks at the Tattered Cover -- yet they're going to make these magazines go behind the counter? Really?" In his view, this move "could be devastating for both the industry as a whole and consumers in terms of cutting back on information and ways to see new products -- because a lot of people aren't going to want the icky feeling of having to go into a 7-Eleven and ask, 'Can I see the magazine behind the brown paper bag?'"
Another noteworthy but little discussed passage pertains to THC limits in marijuana edibles. One portion calls for "a serving size for edible retail marijuana products that does not contain more than ten milligrams of active THC, label requirements regarding servings for edible retail marijuana products, and limitations on the total amount of active THC in a package that is no more than one-hundred milligrams of active THC."
Edibles with well over 100 milligrams of THC are widely available at many if not most medical marijuana centers in the state. Does this mean companies would be prohibited from going beyond this number for any product? Or will they be able to manufacture them for sale to people with red cards, but not to recreational customers. That isn't clear to Edson.
"It amazes me that there hasn't been more discussion about this cap," he says. "That's pretty low."
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Here's the House-approved draft of the bill.
More from our Politics archive: "Marijuana retailers may not have to grow their own -- and that's great, attorney says."