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Reader: Could Colorado have made a worse mess of regulating cannabis?

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Colorado's medical marijuana industry has not only brought a lot of money into the state, it's also created legitimate jobs -- including the position of marijuana trimmer, a job outlined in a story by Wax Jones. Yes, the work can be smelly -- even boring, no matter how much you like marijuana -- but "to be able to work with this plant and still make a living is incredible," says Shawna Weiman, "Trim Leader" for Pink House. "This is a good way to be passionate about it and do it right."

But has the state done it right? The job, like nearly all in the medical marijuana industry, is not legal under federal law. But it is legal in Colorado, and backed by state regulations; each employee must have a state-issued badge from the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division to work at any MMJ facility.

And that's the problem, says Robert Chase:

"Each employee must have a state-issued badge to work at any MMJ facility" -- interestingly enough, the MMED never got around to defining the precise categories of occupational licenses. HB10-1284 said of occupational licenses only that: "For the purpose of regulating the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, and sale of medical marijuana, the state licensing authority in its discretion, upon application in the prescribed form made to it, may issue and grant to the applicant a license from any of the following classes, subject to the provisions and restrictions provided by this article: ... Occupational licenses and registrations for owners, managers, operators, employees, contractors, and other support staff employed by, working in, or having access to restricted areas of the licensed premises, as determined by the state licensing authority", which merely implies that the MMED is supposed to establish standards for such licenses.

The MMED rules, last revised July 1, 2011, fail to define the specific occupational licenses or promulgate standards or regulations for them, only categorizing license types as key, support, or registration, and stating that "The Director of the Division shall establish appropriate sub-categories within each occupational (license) category to reflect the nature of the activity to be performed". In that rules defining the occupation of trimming (or rules for vendors, or rules for lab techs) have never been established, the badges being issued lack a legal basis for their existence. Romer's grandiose scheme of overbearing regulation provided for the DOR hiring fully 110 full-time employees; that never occurred, but the purchase of more vehicles than the MMED had employees is indicative of what a boondoggle he created.

Despite the scathing audit and the obvious Mickey Mouse nature of medical cannabis regulation by the DOR, every idiocy in which it was engaged and many it never got around to attempting, in particular, the obsessive monitoring of cannabis "from seed to sale", were all incorporated in plans to regulate general retail sales to adults -- the farce within the MED will continue, even as State government as a whole pursues its macabre plans to continue to felonize Coloradans outside the system for precisely the same conduct it will ostensibly be regulating in dispensaries.

Could Colorado have made a worse mess of regulating cannabis? Possibly, but the fact that the State ignored the Constitution by not making the "state health agency" responsible for regulating the commerce in medical cannabis and what I have recounted above suggest otherwise.

Has Colorado done anything right in its regulation of cannabis? Post your thoughts below.

For more memorable takes, visit our Comment of the Day archive.

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