When representatives from Colorado cities meet next month to talk policy, the grey and black pot markets will be on the agenda. At the Colorado Municipal League's annual conference on June 21 in Breckenridge, officials from municipalities around the state, both large and small, plan to discuss their role in the fight against semi-legal and outright illegal grow operations.
Illegal weed is nothing new to Colorado. But after Amendment 64 was implemented, loopholes in state law paved the way for the "grey" pot market, where grow operations that began in legal territory veered into illegality, often by combining medical and recreational operations.
By posing as medical caregivers, which are allowed to grow up to 99 plants if required by a patient, and by forming recreational "cooperatives" that theoretically allow for an unlimited amount of production, "grey" grow operations began selling pot in neighboring states. In March, an undercover investigation busted a network of sixteen people who sold pot by the hundreds of pounds to buyers outside Colorado.
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Aiming to close the loopholes that opened the way to such abuses, state legislators passed two bills last month that are expected to be signed by Governor John Hickenlooper. The first caps residential operations at twelve plants, and the second created a fund to reimburse local governments for cracking down on legally grey operations.
The CML meeting will take a "more comprehensive view" about how the bills would affect local governments, says Kevin Bommer, the League's deputy director, and discuss pot proposals that failed to make the cut in this year's legislative session.
Other events of interest on the conference agenda? Opioids, drones and a "Mayors' Mingle."