Marijuana: Amendment 64 task force report reveals Westword is adult-oriented -- and more

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Hey, kid! What are you doing reading this blog post? Don't you know that Westword is adult-oriented?

Frankly, that was news to us, too, despite our willingness to publish profanities when people say them to us (and other times, as well). But now we know, thanks to the just-released final report from the Amendment 64 task force, which was charged by Governor John Hickenlooper with recommending how the measure is to be implemented. Some highlights and the complete 166-page report below.

The first recommendation? The task force thinks the General Assembly should "adopt the current 70/30 'vertical integration' model" for recreational-marijuana businesses. That means "cultivation, processing and manufacturing, and retail sales must be a common enterprise under common ownership" -- a controversial suggestion in some quarters, given that it requires entrepreneurs to master every element of the industry rather than specializing in growing or selling. Like those in the medical marijuana business, they must grow at least 70 percent of their own product, while acquiring no more than 30 percent from other sources.

In addition, there'll be paperwork aplenty. The task force suggests that legislators "add a requirement that all licensees file a monthly report with the state licensing authority, which documents all sales/transfers of marijuana during the month outside of the licensee's common ownership structure pursuant to the 30 percent allowance. This monthly report shall detail all such transactions, including the amount of product transferred, the licensee the product was transferred to, and the calculation of the percentage of on-hand inventory transferred outside of the common ownership structure expressed as a percentage of the total on-hand inventory for the month."


Also recommended are rules empowering local jurisdictions to prohibit pot businesses of all descriptions if they so wish. Here's that section:

This statute should recognize the authority of local governments to require local authorization requirements for any adult use marijuana establishment as a legitimate type of "time, place, manner and number" regulation at the local level, by which a local county or municipality may:

1. Defer to state standards; 2. Choose to adopt their own standards; or 3. Ban adult use marijuana establishments within their jurisdictions.

Numerous municipalities have already moved forward with step three. Indeed, Douglas County took its first steps toward a ban last November -- the same month A64 was passed.

Advertising restrictions are also suggested. The task force thinks the legislature should "prohibit all mass-market campaigns that have a high likelihood of reaching minors (billboards, television, radio, direct mail, etc.). Advertising in adult-oriented newspapers and magazines would be allowed."

And what constitutes an "adult-oriented" publication? Does it have to feature men and women wearing nothing other than marijuana leaves?

Continue for more about the Amendment 64 task force report, including the complete document. The report doesn't specify -- but further down in this section, a passage advises allowing "opt-in marketing on the web and location-based devices (mobile) as long as there is an easy and permanent opt-out feature. No unsolicited pop-up advertising is allowed. Banner ads would only be allowed on adult-oriented sites like Westword (not Facebook or mass market sites)."

You can bet the folks in our sales department breathed easier when reading this last line....

As you'd expect from such a hefty report, the task force tackles many more elements of a recreational-marijuana industry, including product additives -- anything toxic should be outlawed, members say -- and the creation of a committee to develop what are referred to as "Good Laboratory Practices (GLP)."

Hickenlooper hasn't endorsed each of these items, and he's hardly been transformed into a pro-pot-biz cheerleader over the past few months: At the final task force meeting on February 28, for instance, he predicted that A64's passage would increase teen marijuana use. But he has good things to say about the task force's effort overall. His statement reads: The commendable work by the task force sets the stage for sensible regulation and enforcement in Colorado. We want to thank Barbara Brohl and Jack Finlaw for their leadership on the task force. The entire group carefully and thoughtfully worked through dozens of issues and ideas. We look forward to now working with the General Assembly to follow through on the task force's recommendations."

As we reported yesterday, a joint committee is being formed to create legislation inspired by the task force's work. Here's the entire report.

Task Force Report on the Implementation of Amendment 64

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Joint committee to use task force recommendations to iron out Colorado pot laws."

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.