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Colorado has led the country in marijuana legislation since 2012.
Colorado has led the country in marijuana legislation since 2012.
Lindsey Bartlett

Marijuana Bills Introduced in Colorado Legislature in 2019

We're over two months into Colorado's 2019 legislative session, and pot proposals have been creating plenty of buzz at the State Capitol.

While bills to provide medical marijuana patients with firearms rights and altered-state DUI laws regarding marijuana use are as good as dead, measures that would expand medical marijuana access, allow pot delivery and set up social consumption licenses are still alive and kicking.

And with a vocal supporter of legal marijuana in Governor Jared Polis, pot advocates and business owners expect to see many of these bills signed into law.

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Here's a breakdown of the nine marijuana proposals introduced so far (the summaries come from the text of the bills themselves), as well as their status:

HB 1028: Medical Marijuana Condition Autism

Prime sponsors: Representative Edie Hooton (D-District 10), Representative Kim Ransom (R-District 44), Senator Don Coram (R-District 6), Senator Stephen Fenberg (D-District 18)

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Summary: The bill adds autism spectrum disorders to the list of disabling medical conditions that authorize a person to use medical marijuana for his or her condition. Under current law, a child under 18 years of age who wants to be added to the medical marijuana registry for a disabling medical condition must be diagnosed as having a disabling medical condition by 2 physicians, one of whom must be a board-certified pediatrician, a board-certified family physician, or a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist who attests that he or she is part of the patient's primary care provider team. The bill removes the additional requirements on specific physicians to align with the constitutional provisions for a debilitating medical condition. The bill states if the recommending physician is not the patient's primary care physician, the recommending physician shall review the records of a diagnosing physician or a licensed mental health provider acting within its scope of practice.

The bill encourages the state board of health, when awarding marijuana study grants, to prioritize grants to gather objective scientific research regarding the efficacy and the safety of administering medical marijuana for pediatric conditions, including but not limited to autism spectrum disorder.

Status: Passed third House reading February 7; passed Senate Health & Human Services Committee March 14; referred to whole Senate.

HB 1031: Child Patient More Than One Primary Caregiver

Prime sponsors: Representative Matt Gray (D-District 33)

Summary: Under current law, a medical marijuana patient is limited to having one primary caregiver at a time. The bill makes an exception for a patient who is under 18 years of age and allows each parent or guardian to serve as a primary caregiver.

Status: Passed third House reading February 25; passed Senate Health & Human Services Committee March 14; referred amended to the House Appropriation Committee.

HB 1055: Public School Cap Construction Financial Assistance

Prime Sponsors: Representative Shannon Bird (D-District 35), Senator Rachel Zenzinger (D-District 19)

Summary: Current law requires the greater of the first $40 million of state retail marijuana excise tax revenue or 90% of the revenue to be credited to the public school capital construction assistance fund (assistance fund) and limits the maximum total amount of annual lease payments payable by the state under the terms of all outstanding lease-purchase agreements entered into as authorized by the "Building Excellent Schools Today Act" (BEST) to $100 million. Beginning July 1, 2019, the bill:

  • Requires all state retail marijuana excise tax revenue to be credited to the assistance fund;
  • Increases the maximum total amount of BEST annual lease payments to $105 million for state fiscal year 2019-20 and to $110 million for state fiscal year 2020-21 and each state fiscal year thereafter;
  • Changes the percentage of the state retail marijuana excise tax revenue credited to the assistance fund that is further credited to the charter school facilities assistance account of the assistance fund for distribution to charter schools from 12.5% to a percentage equal to the percentage of students included in the statewide funded pupil count who were enrolled in charter schools for the prior school year; and
  • Changes the total amount of money annually appropriated from the state education fund for charter school capital construction from a flat amount of $20 million per year to $20 million per year annually adjusted for changes in the percentage of students included in the statewide funded pupil count who are enrolled in charter schools.

Status: Passed House Finance Committee March 4; referred amended to the House Appropriations Committee.

Governor Jared Polis, seen here touring a Northglenn marijuana facility in 2018, has been a vocal supporter of pot legalization.EXPAND
Governor Jared Polis, seen here touring a Northglenn marijuana facility in 2018, has been a vocal supporter of pot legalization.
Kenzie Bruce

HB 1090: Publicly Licensed Marijuana Companies

Prime Sponsors: Representative Matt Gray (D-District 33), Representative Kevin Van Winkle (R-District 43), Senator Julie Gonzalez (D-District 34), Senator Owen Hill (R-District 10)

Summary: The bill repeals the provisions that require limited passive investors to go through an initial background check. The bill repeals the provisions that limit the number of out-of-state direct beneficial owners to 15 persons. The bill repeals the provision that prohibits publicly traded corporations from holding a marijuana license.

The bill creates 2 new ownership licenses, controlling beneficial owners and passive beneficial owners. The bill gives the state licensing authority rule-making authority related to the parameters of, qualifications of, disclosure of, requirements for, and suitability for the new license types. A controlling beneficial owner is a person that is the beneficial owner of 10% or more of the securities of a marijuana business, is an affiliate, or is otherwise in a position to exercise control of the marijuana business. A passive beneficial owner is a person that is not an affiliate of a marijuana business, has no control over the marijuana business, and owns less than 10% of the securities of a marijuana business.

The bill requires a person intending to apply to become a controlling beneficial owner or passive beneficial owner to receive a finding of suitability or an exemption from the state licensing authority prior to submitting a marijuana business application. When applying for suitability, a person must disclose all of its officers, directors, and affiliates; all controlling beneficial owners; if a publicly traded corporation, all of its controlling beneficial owners of 10% or more; and, if not a publicly traded corporation, all of its officers, directors, beneficial owners, affiliates, and passive beneficial owners. The bill also requires a marijuana business or controlling beneficial owner that is a publicly traded corporation to comply with various notification, disclosure, notice, and suitability requirements. The bill limits the types of publicly traded corporations that can be marijuana businesses or controlling beneficial owners.

Current statutes list areas in which the state licensing authority may adopt rules but does not limit the rules to those areas. The bill limits the state licensing authority's power to adopt rules to those areas listed in statutes.

Status: Passed House Finance Committee hearing March 4; referred amended to House Appropriations Committee.

HB 1146: Tandem DUI Per Se

Prime Sponsors: Representative Dylan Roberts (D-District 26), Representative Hugh McKean (R-District 51)

Summary: The bill adds a new traffic offense of tandem DUI per se if a peace officer has evidence to believe that a driver had consumed alcohol or drugs, that the driver was substantially incapable of safely operating a vehicle, and that the driver had any measurable amount of a drug in his or her blood or oral fluid. The penalties for tandem DUI per se are the same as for DUI. The bill repeals the 5 nanogram THC threshold for the presumption that a driver is under the influence of marijuana.

Status: Postponed indefinitely by House Judiciary Committee February 12.

Prime Sponsors: Representative Jonathan Singer (D-District 11), Representative Jovan Melton (D-District 41), Senator Vicki Marble (R-District 23), Senator Julie Gonzalez (D-District 34)

HB 1230: Marijuana Hospitality Establishments

Summary: If approval is received by both the state and local licensing authorities, the bill authorizes legal cannabis hospitality spaces in which legal cannabis may be consumed on site and retail cannabis hospitality and sales establishments in which retail marijuana, retail marijuana concentrate, and retail marijuana products may be sold and consumed on site in the establishment's hospitality space.

The bill establishes requirements and prohibitions for the new hospitality spaces and requires the state licensing authority to promulgate rules governing the new hospitality licenses and spaces.

The bill makes the hospitality spaces an exception to the "Colorado Clean Air Act" and makes conforming amendments.

Status: House Business, Affairs & Labor hearing March 27.

HB 1234: Regulated Marijuana Delivery

Prime Sponsors: Representative Alex Valdez, (D-District 5), Representative Jonathan Singer (D-District 11), Senator Vicki Marble (R-District 23), Senator Julie Gonzalez (D-District 34)

Summary: The bill creates marijuana delivery permits for licensed medical marijuana centers and transporters and licensed retail marijuana stores and transporters that allow the centers, stores, and transporters to deliver medical marijuana, medical marijuana-infused products, retail marijuana, and retail marijuana products to customers. The bill gives the state licensing authority rule-making authority over the permit and delivery system. Medical marijuana delivery permitting begins January 2, 2020, and retail marijuana delivery permitting begins January 2, 2021.

The bill requires responsible vendor training programs to include marijuana delivery training.

Status: House Business, Affairs & Labor hearing March 27.

SB 13: Medical Marijuana Condition Opiates Prescribed For

Prime Sponsors: Senator Vicki Marble (R-District 23), Senator Joann Ginal (D-District 14), Representative Edie Hooton (D-District 10), Representative Kim Ransom (R-District 44)

Summary: The bill adds a condition for which a physician could prescribe an opiate to the list of disabling medical conditions that authorize a person to use medical marijuana for his or her condition. Under current law, a child under 18 years of age who wants to be added to the medical marijuana registry for a disabling medical condition must be diagnosed as having a disabling medical condition by 2 physicians, one of whom must be a board-certified pediatrician, a board-certified family physician, or a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist who attests that he or she is part of the patient's primary care provider team. The bill removes the additional requirements on specific physicians to align with the constitutional provisions for a debilitating medical condition. The bill states if the recommending physician is not the patient's primary care physician, the recommending physician shall review the records of a diagnosing physician or a licensed mental health provider acting within its scope of practice. The bill limits a patient with a disabling medical condition who is under eighteen years of age to using medical marijuana only in a non-smokeable form when using medical marijuana upon the grounds of the preschool or primary or secondary school in which the student is enrolled, or upon a school bus or at a school-sponsored event.

Status: Passed third Senate reading February 12; assigned to House Health and Insurance Committee.

SB 93: Firearms Rights of Medical Marijuana Users

Prime Sponsors: Senator Vicki Marble (R-District 23), Representative Bri Buentello (D-District 47)

Summary: Current law prohibits a person from carrying a firearm if the person has a prior conviction for a felony or conspiracy to commit a felony pursuant to Colorado law, the law of any other state, or federal law. The bill clarifies that a person is not prohibited from carrying a firearm if the prior conviction was for the possession or use of marijuana that was lawfully possessed or used pursuant to the Colorado constitution.

Under current law, a sheriff may deny an application for a permit to carry a concealed handgun when the applicant is ineligible to possess a firearm pursuant to Colorado or federal law or the applicant is an unlawful user of, or addicted to, a controlled substance, as defined by federal law or regulation. The bill clarifies that a person is not considered to be ineligible to possess a firearm pursuant to federal law nor considered to be an unlawful user of, or addicted to, a controlled substance because of the possession or use of medical marijuana pursuant to the Colorado constitution.

The bill clarifies that the department of public safety is prohibited from sharing confidential information relating to the medical marijuana registry with law enforcement for the purpose of conducting a background check related to the transfer of firearms.

Status: Postponed indefinitely by Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee on February 6.

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