Medical marijuana responsible vendor bill provides legitimacy, says senator

Proposals concerning medical marijuana banking and THC driving standards have gotten plenty of press. But one piece of weed-related legislation has received comparatively little attention thus far: Senate Bill 154, aka the responsible vendors bill.

What would it do? Here's Senate Lois Tochtrop, the measure's sponsor, with the details.

"This is going to give the dispensaries more legitimacy," Tochtrop says.

Specifically, the legislation would direct the state to authorize a server and seller training program with a core curriculum focusing on licenses, records keeping, privacy issues, criminal liability, acceptable forms of ID and more. Taking part would win shops brownie points with the state: If a business committed a regulatory violation, participation in the program could be used as a mitigating factor when doling out sanctions.

To Tochtrop, the benefits are obvious. "There's so much negativity around the medical marijuana industry, and I think this will help," she says. "It puts guidelines on servers that they can work with -- gets people educated, and brings more clarity."

What about the cost?

"There is no fiscal impact," Tochtrop maintains. "The fiscal note shows that there could be a possible reduction under the state revenue system if the enforcement division brings an action but fines are lower, and that's all. It's not cash-funded." Rather, those going through the program will pay for it.

Thus far, Tochtrop has not heard much opposition to the measure, and she thinks that's telling. "People seem to forget that way back in 2000, the state voted for medical marijuana," she points out. "At that time, I was a state representative, and after the vote was certified, I got an abstract of the votes in my district, House District 34 in Adams County. And one of the precincts that overwhelmingly supported it was an area where there's a large senior mobile-home park, which I found interesting. They got it: They understood that that in the latter part of our life, we want to have access to this kind of medication."

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Later today, Tochtrop expects to discuss the bill with Democratic colleagues, after which she'll circle back to speak with Republican members of the business, labor and technology committee on which she sits; that group is slated to consider the legislation on Wednesday. So far, though, "no one has come up to me and said, 'Oh my God, this is the worst thing ever.' With everything else going on, it's flown under the radar."

That may prove to be a good thing, especially in light of the MMJ banking bill's defeat. Look below to read the bill.

Senate Bill 12-154

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More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana banking bill dies in Senate committee."

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