Marijuana buying limits advised by A64 task force could send prices sky high, attorney says

We're coming down to the wire on the Amendment 64 task force, whose final meeting is slated for Thursday. But big recommendations have already been put forward, including an okay for pot tourism, albeit with potential limits on purchase amounts for out of staters. Now, though, the task force has suggested buying restrictions on in-state residents, too -- and one longtime marijuana advocate thinks that if the legislature signs on to the idea, prices will go up. A lot.

The recommendations that emerged from yesterday's task-force meeting included requiring child-proof packaging; nixing logos that might appeal to kids; mandating potency labeling; forbidding the addition to weed of addictive ingredients like nicotine; restricting shops from selling products beyond cannabis and items directly related to it (like pipes and papers); and disallowing advertising in venues accessible to children, including TV, radio and what the Denver Post describes as "general-distribution newspapers."

No doubt the folks on the sales side of the Westword offices took notice of this last item, which would seem to contradict current rules allowing medical marijuana ads in publications like this one. Could banning ads for recreational pot precipitate a change in policy regarding MMJ? An interested question, and one that may not be answered until May, when Amendment 64-related legislation is expected to be passed, or perhaps even afterward.

Still, the piece of advice that stuck out the most for attorney Warren Edson, a specialist in marijuana law in addition to being a veteran activist for pot policy reform, was the possibility of limiting how much marijuana in-state residents can buy at any given time, rather than allowing them to purchase the one ounce authorized by A64 for adults 21 and over. An amount wasn't specified, but the most common figure floated has been a quarter-ounce.

Edson's reaction to that?

"As you can imagine, my head kind of exploded" upon hearing this suggestion, "as did my Facebook page," he says. "Last night, I couldn't help mentioning how we were told we could possess an ounce at a time and it was going to be regulated like alcohol -- and how can quarter-ounce limits be regulating it like alcohol?"

To this question, Edson received often surprising answers -- some of them from marijuana-reform advocates he thought would be similarly frustrated by the recommendation.

Continue for more about potential marijuana purchase limits.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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