Marijuana

Marijuana and Hemp Bills Introduced in the Colorado Legislature in 2019

Colorado has led the country in marijuana legislation since 2012.
Colorado has led the country in marijuana legislation since 2012. Lindsey Bartlett
We have just one week left of 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 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.

Here's a breakdown of the fifteen marijuana and hemp 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)

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: Amended version passed General Assembly; signed into law April 2.


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: Amended version passed General Assembly April 22; awaiting governor's signature.

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: Amended version passed General Assembly April 27; awaiting governor's signature.
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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