The Colorado House Judiciary Committee approved a highly amended version of HB 1284 today, and sent it to the House Appropriations Committee for further debate (click here). Instead of allowing ‘dispensaries,’ the new bill would allow ‘medical marijuana centers.’ To some this might be seen as a simple change, but there are quite a bit of legal ramifications involved. ‘Dispensaries’ have been used in so many local ordinances and moratoriums that it would be extremely complicated to ‘undue’ all of the local actions that have taken place. But by ‘recreating’ the facilities (from a legal perspective), giving them new uniform rules to abide by, and calling them something different in the state statues, the State sidesteps the whole issue. It’s simple, but efficient from a public policy standpoint.
Local zoning regulations remain in place, but most of the local ordinances were only enacted as a safeguard until uniform guidelines came from the State Legislature. Once that happens, I predict most of them will go away.
Some of the newly amended requirements include:
Requiring each sale to be digitally recorded
Transaction areas are for cardholders only
No drug felonies within the last 5 years for owners
One amendment that I never thought would pass, but did, was allowing dispensaries and caregivers that operate in areas that ban centers altogether, to serve up to 16 patients.