Colorado gov calls for increased enforcement on MJ ‘gray market’

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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper called for increased state-level enforcement to battle the cannabis “gray market” and said those who refuse to abide by the law represent a “clear and present danger.”

Hickenlooper’s statement Monday, coming after last week’s huge electoral victories across the nation for the marijuana industry, underscores the still-tentative legal status of the entire cannabis market.

The central problem is those who grow cannabis legally but then sell their crops on the black market. Hickenlooper’s administration is considering supporting changes to who is permitted to grow MJ at home, as well as the number of plants allowed, the Denver Post reported.

The governor said Colorado needs to “move swiftly and aggressively to make sure the illegal activity is stamped out,” according to the Post.

“This is one of the things we worried about in the very beginning” of the legal marijuana trade, Hickenlooper noted.

Preventing illegal diversion to the black market is also one of the key provisions of the 2013 Cole Memo, which underpins the entire adult-use marijuana industries in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington State, as well as the upcoming rec markets in California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada. Any failure to do so by a state with a regulated cannabis market invites intervention from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration, as evidenced by March raids on illegal grows in Colorado.