Marijuana: Inside recreational and medical draft rules

The rulemaking surrounding Amendment 64 is in full swing at the state level. The Department of Revenue has released a set of draft rule changes and clarifications for a huge chunk of medical marijuana law, as well as draft regs regarding the recreational cannabis industry.

The 100-plus page document is full of details, some mundane and some worth noting. We did a quick scan and have pointed out a few of the highlights (or lowlights, depending on your view) below.

The new rules aren't set in stone yet, however. There will be public hearings 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. August 20, 21 and 22 at the state Supreme Court Chambers, 200 East Colfax Avenue, in Denver. Written comments from stakeholders are also being accepted: E-mail your thoughts to [email protected] or snail-mail them to the MED at 455 Sherman St. Suite 390, Denver 80203.

This also isn't the end of the rulemaking for the newly-created Marijuana Enforcement Division (previously the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division). Up next will be the topics of production limits and testing mandates, as well as more details on inventory tracking.

"Not only does this approach allow us to ensure that stakeholder input plays an integral role in the formulation of these rules, it allows us to maintain good working relationships with industry members, fellow regulatory and law enforcement agencies and the public we are here to protect," Barbara Brohl, Executive Director of the Department of Revenue, said in a prepared statement. "By keeping the conversation open and inclusive the MED can stay abreast of safety concerns, industry trends or enforcement issues and work with our stakeholders to resolve problems before they arise. This will allow us to provide a proactive, well-reasoned approach to regulation of Colorado's Marijuana Industries -- a foundation we will continue to build on as we move forward and formulate rules in the future."

The complete draft document is below -- but to help you navigate it, we've pointed out some places where changes were made, and other sections that deserve attention. There are a lot more of the latter, especially if you're a medical cannabis business owner -- but this should give you a place to start. And as a bonus, we've illustrated the post with photos from our picks for the ten dankest strains of 2012.

The document clarifies that anyone "engaged in the business of" medical marijuana -- and that includes anyone giving it away -- has to be licensed, or they are illegal. I guess they hadn't clarified that before?

The definitions passages (Section M103) spell out a number of terms. Here are some examples:

"Batch" means a specifically identified quantity of processed medical marijuana that is uniform in strain and potency, cultivated utilizing the same herbicides, pesticides and fungicides, and harvested during the same cultivation cycle.

"Container" means the sealed package in which medical marijuana or a medical marijuana product is placed for sale to a patient and that has been labeled.

"Edible Medical Marijuana-Infused Product" means any medical marijuana infused product that is intended to be consumed orally, including but not limited to, any type of food, drink, or pill.

"Immature plant" means a nonflowering medical marijuana plant that is no taller than eight inches and no wider than eight inches produced from a cutting, clipping or seedling and that is in a growing/cultivating container that is no larger than two inches wide and two inches tall that is sealed on the sides and bottom.

Continue for more about new recreational and medial marijuana draft rules. The rules also discuss the "seed to sale" system, which uses RFID technology to track plants up until the point of sale (sections M103 and M309). Here are some definitions:

"MITS" means Marijuana Inventory Tracking Solution.

"MITS Trained Administrator" means an owner or an occupationally licensed employee of a medical marijuana business who has attended and successfully completed MITS training and who has completed any additional training required by the MED.

"MITS User" means an owner or an occupationally licensed medical marijuana business employee who is granted MITS user account access for the purposes of conducting inventory tracking functions in the MITS system; who has been successfully trained by MITS Trained Administrators in the proper and lawful use MITS; and who has completed any additional training required by the MED.

The draft also creates new terms for retail marijuana and retail marijuana products, although many are lifted word-for-word from medical marijuana rules.

The draft clarifies the application process for all-things medical. Most of it looks similar to before, but the new draft seems to clarify who counts as an owner with regard to financials (section M204). More importantly, change of ownership rules that had been an issue in the past, as the state initially worked to license shops, are more delineated.

Also laid out are the application fees (section M207):

• Type one center with up to 300 patients: $7,500 new license/$3,750 renewal

• Type two center with up to 500 patients: $12,500 new license /$8,750 renewal

• Type three center with more than 500 patients: $18,000 new license /$14,000 renewal

• Infused product manufacturer (edibles): $1,250

Continue for more about new recreational and medial marijuana draft rules. Some parts of the rules seem to be about housekeeping -- maintaining pace with the change in roles for the enforcement division from solely medical marijuana to recreational cannabis as well. The rules outline how dispensaries can switch over to recreational sales (section M211) as well as what their fees will be.

All applicants for recreational outlets will be fingerprinted and background-checked, and there is language requiring that all applications be available to law enforcement upon request -- just in case you forgot that you were operating in a legal gray area.

People convicted of controlled substance felonies in the past will not be able to apply for ownership, ever (at least, as of right now). People with all other felonies can apply five years after the fact.

That said, controlled substance felons can apply to be support staff -- including management positions, it seems -- so long as the charges were "based on possession or use of marijuana or marijuana concentrate" that "would not be a felony if the employee were convicted of the offense on the date he or she applied for a license." It also clarifies who needs to be licensed with the MED and who is okay to work with just a visitor's badge (section M233).

A few more points:

Residency requirements seem to stay about the same -- section M232

Shared medical and retail marijuana establishments -- section M-304

• Have to maintain a "physical or virtual separation of the facilities, marijuana plants and marijuana inventory." That means both the dispensary and the grow operation.

• Eighteen-year-old medical patients can't be in retail stores that also sell medical cannabis.

Continue for more about new recreational and medial marijuana draft rules. Additional topics:


• Details what needs to be recorded.

• Cites required equipment.

• Notes that every recording needs to be kept for at least forty days.

• "Surveillance recordings and color still photos must be made available to the state and relevant local licensing authorities or any local law enforcement agency acting on behalf of the local licensing authority, upon request and without unreasonable delay."

70/30 RULE -- section M403

• 30 percent is calculated annually from January 1 to December 31.

OPC Health regulations -- section M504

• Workers have to wash hands and can't work around plants if they are sick.

• Grows have to be free of "pests."

• The text also mentions icewater concentrate production as part of an OPC and requires all concentrates to follow the same sanitary requirements for edibles.

• All other concentrates will have to be produced "in a facility licensed to manufacture."

• Lists chemicals and substances banned from grows (and it is a long list).

Packaging -- section M1001

• MMJ has to be in a childproof container.

• Labels have to contain all chemical additives used in cultivation and concentrates must be labeled with the solvent used to extract them (section M1003).

• Edibles have to be labeled for any allergies as well as list expiration and refrigeration.

Continue to view the entire 100-plus page document containing all of the proposed rule changes.

Revised Proposed Medical Marijuana Rules

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana registry roller coaster: Slight increase in active cards" and "Marijuana activist honored by Boulder Community Hospital, George Karl Foundation."

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William Breathes
Contact: William Breathes

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