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Changes to Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Laws

In 2010 the Colorado State Legislature totally changed the Medical Marijuana Laws in a comprehensive way – however – the are still major issues that remain that continually confuse and confound those cultivating marijuana who are trying to follow and comply with the new law.

Here is a summary of the new law: H.B. 10-1284 Medical Marijuana

The act creates the state licensing authority in the department of revenue as the medical marijuana licensing authority.

The state licensing authority grants, refuses, or renews a medical marijuana center license after the licensee has received local approval. It also administers aspects of medical marijuana licensure, including rule-making.

Many of the functions and duties of the state licensing authority are similar to those held by the state licensing authority for alcoholic beverages. Licenses are issued to operate medical marijuana centers and associated off-premises cultivation operations and medical-marijuana-infused products manufacturers and associated off-premises cultivation operations.

The law describes persons who are prohibited from being licensees and requires licensee applicants to undergo a background check and it limits the areas where a licensed operation may be located.

The state licensing authority sets fees for the various types of licenses it issues. The fees are credited to the medical marijuana license cash fund, which is also created by the act.

Licensing began on August 1, 2010 leaving all existing operations a deadline of August 1, 2010, to continue operations until the issuance or denial of a license. A business that applies for a license prior to August 1, 2010, must certify by September 1, 2010, that it is growing at least 70% of the medical marijuana necessary for its operation.

The law allows local governments the right to ban the sale, distribution, cultivation, and dispensing of medical marijuana within its jurisdiction by a majority vote of its governing board or a majority vote of its citizens.

A licensed medical marijuana center can sell packaged and labeled medical marijuana and medical marijuana-infused products that it purchases from an infused-product licensee.

A center must verify the registration card of each purchaser. To cultivate medical marijuana, the center must have an optional premises cultivation license. Also it is important to note that a medical marijuana center may only sell medical marijuana it cultivates itself or medical marijuana purchased from another center in a quantity that is no more than 30% of its inventory.

A licensed medical marijuana infused-products manufacturer may produce infused-products from its own cultivated medical marijuana, if it has an optional cultivation license, or use medical marijuana from up to 5 different medical marijuana centers in the production of one product. An infused-products manufacturer may sell its products to any medical marijuana center.

All infused-products must be sealed and labeled. An infused-product manufacturer with a cultivation license may not sell any of its cultivated medical marijuana.

The act describes various unlawful acts that related to the operation of a licensed medical marijuana business.

Still Left Undone:

The department of public health and environment (department) shall promulgate rules related to a waiver process to allow a homebound patient to have a primary caregiver transport the patients medical marijuana from a licensed medical marijuana center and a sales tax exemption for indigent patients. The department may promulgate rules related to what constitutes significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a patient; a primary caregiver registration form; what constitutes written documentation; and grounds and a procedure for a patient to change his or her primary caregiver.

A primary caregiver may serve no more than 5 patients on the registry at one time, unless the department allows more patients due to exceptional circumstances.

A patient who is permitted to use medical marijuana must have in his or her possession a registry identification card at all times when in possession of medical marijuana.

The act lists various places and situations in which the patient or primary caregiver may not use or possess medical marijuana.

Finally, the act provides an exception to the adulterated food offenses for medical marijuana centers that manufacture or sell food that contains medical marijuana if the food is labeled as containing medical marijuana and the label specifies the amount of medical marijuana.

There are several excellent websites to assist the caregiver or dispensary to comply with the state of the law:

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