MMJ regulation draws ever near




According to a report in the Denver Post, the state Senate has passed through one of the two hoops between it and final regulation of the state's medical marijuana industry.

The second approval could come as early as today. With only minimal differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill, Colorado's new rules for its booming medical-marijuana industry are coming into sharp focus.

Some key points:

• The bill still includes language giving local governments or local voters the option to ban dispensaries within a given jurisdiction. (Replace that "or" with an "and," and then maybe we'd be talking.)

• All dispensaries would be required to pay licensing fees at the local and state levels, likely in the tens of thousands of dollars, though figures would be officially determined later by the Department of Revenue.

• Those with felony drug convictions, and residents of Colorado for less than two years, among others, would be banned from dispensary ownership.

• The bill sets final dates for dispensary registration and compliance with a "70-30" rule; that is, a mandate that each dispensary grow 70 percent of its own medicine. Here's what Matt Brown from Coloradans for Medical Marijuana Regulation told Westword:

"They doubled the amount of time we were being given previously, but it's still incredibly short," Brown maintains. "The application deadline is August 1 and the 70-30 compliance date is September 1. So it's a little less rushed than it was, but still rushed."

Though the bill is awaiting a second hearing and approval — likely happening today — and then must be sent back to the House for reconciliation, all signs point to a quick passage and a clear path to the governor's desk for signature.

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