Amendment 64 Task Force: Recommendations made and pending, meeting schedule update

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For the past month, members of the Governor John Hickenlooper-appointed Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force have been meeting to discuss how they would like to see the state's recreational cannabis industry proceed. Early on, the task force was divided into five working groups, all charged with examining issues ranging from consumer safety to law-enforcement priorities. A few of those groups have already made preliminary recommendations to the task force for consideration. Others are still operating. Details and schedules below.

As an example of recommendations that are already in, the Civil Law group proposes that the governor, state attorney general, banking leaders and marijuana-industry representatives request that the president, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and "any other appropriate federal agency" change federal banking policy to allow for state-legal marijuana business transactions. In addition, the group feels Hickenlooper should contact governors from other states facing similar issues and band together with them. Meanwhile, the Tax/Funding group recommends that the General Assembly take no action on marijuana banking until April, when a federal response is anticipated. Otherwise, members say, the task force "cannot suggest state legislation that resolves this issue." Their findings echo what state senator Pat Steadman discovered last year when he tried to to pass marijuana banking-reform legislation.

According to the Criminal Law group, the task force does not need to address the issue of driving under the influence of drugs; members think that's best left to the state legislature, which is currently considering several bills. Neither is it choosing to recommend any action concerning industrial hemp cultivation, processing or sales, for similar reasons.

Activist and medical cannabis business owner Jessica LeRoux has been attending most of the meetings and posting updates on her Facebook page; information is also included in a weekly newsletter. Over time, she's listed a number of other ideas that have been floated in various working groups. No word on whether any or all would make it to final recommendations, or if the legislators will actually take them into consideration. But among the more interesting/concerning were:

  • E-warrants for roadside blood draws of drivers suspected of being under the influence of marijuana
  • Limiting the number of plants per household regardless of how many adults over 21 live at a location, as well as how much cannabis can be stored from a grow.
  • Not allowing marijuana vending machines.
  • The possibility of dual-use retail that sell to patients as well as recreational users.
  • Putting off industrial hemp regulations until 2014
  • A full ban on advertising outside of a recreational shops, including print, radio, and Internet advertising. As LeRoux wrote in her newsletter: "The rationale was that 64 only allows possession of cannabis, and was not intended to compel the state to allow the industry to expand its user base or frequency of use through marketing techniques."

Continue for more about the Amendment 64 Task Force, including schedules of meetings, including several taking place today. The working groups will present their final recommendations at the two remaining Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force meetings, scheduled for 1 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, February 5, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, February 19, at the new Colorado Judicial Center, 1300 Broadway. There will be an opportunity for public comment at both meetings, as well as at any upcoming sessions of the working groups. The last Implementation Task Force meeting will be held Thursday, February 28, at which point it will finalize its recommendations for lawmakers.

For more information and to listen to audio of past meetings, visit the task force's website.

Below is a list of the remaining meetings:

Consumer Safety/Social Issues Working Group, 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, January 30, at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment headquarters, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South.

Tax/Funding and Civil Issues Working Group, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, January 30, 1300 Broadway.

Criminal Law Issues Working Group, 9 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, January 30, 710 Kipling Street, Suite 308, in Lakewood. The group will meet once more from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, February 14, at the Colorado State Patrol Academy, 15055 South Golden Road, Building 100, in Golden.

Local Authority Work Group, noon to 4 p.m. on Friday, February 8, and noon to 4 p.m. on Friday, February 15, at the Colorado Municipal League, 1144 Sherman Street.

Regulatory Framework Working Group, 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday, January 31, and 2 to 5 p.m. Thursdays, February 7, 14 and 22, at the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division offices, 455 Sherman Street, Suite 390.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Filmmaker Adam Hartle rips Tom Tancredo for welching on bet to smoke legal pot" and "Photos: Denver 4/20 Rally schedule announced amid pot shots at Amendment 64"

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