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Expect These Marijuana Bills in the 2019 Legislative Session

Legal cannabis may be in store for some changes after the Colorado General Assembly convenes January 4.
Legal cannabis may be in store for some changes after the Colorado General Assembly convenes January 4. Jacqueline Collins

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Incoming governor Jared Polis, seen here touring a cannabis cultivation in Northglenn, has suported the state's pot industry since his days in Congress.
Kenzie Bruce
Delivery
Despite making its way through the House, a bill that would have legalized a cannabis delivery pilot program died in a Senate committee last year, and that was after recreational delivery was stripped from it. One of the bill's sponsors, Representative Jonathan Singer, expects the bill to be reintroduced in 2018. We still don't know how expansive that bill will be, but we do know that there will be an even stronger push from pot delivery companies already operating in California and Oregon.

Publicly Traded Companies
Hickenlooper's third cannabis-related veto in 2018 came at the expense of a bill that would have allowed publicly traded companies to invest in state-licensed pot businesses. Calling the move "premature," he believed opening up investment for a federally illegal business without banking access was too risky, and that public trading carries higher chances for fraud in an already-scrutinized industry.

Not surprisingly, the move upset some cannabis business owners and would-be potrepreneurs, who said they'd been working on the measure for years. All of that work is likely to be revisited in 2019, though, with lobbyists and industry reps calling it an essential move if Colorado is to remain competitive with other states that have legalized cannabis.

Merging Medical and Retail Marijuana Codes
Although not as sexy as social consumption and pot delivery, the sunset of Colorado's medical and retail marijuana codes could have big impacts, the biggest of which could be the merger of medical and retail marijuana regulations. The argument for the merger seems logical, done in the interest of copying and pasting certain rules for the parallel industries — but in a 2018 interview, Representative Singer expressed concerns over a "stealth element" that could be used to eliminate the state's medical marijuana market, along with its lower sales-tax rates and patient plant counts.

This is one to watch.
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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 westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell