Colorado legislators OK medical cannabis as opioid alternative

Colorado lawmakers approved a measure that is likely to boost medical marijuana sales in the state by allowing physicians to recommend MMJ as an alternative to opioids.

At the same time, the state Senate gave final passage to the so-called sunset bill that extends Colorado’s regulated marijuana programs. The bill includes provisions to streamline licensing and allows retail cannabis stores to sell industrial hemp consumables.

Both measures started and were passed in the Senate, amended in the House, and repassed in the Senate.

They now go to Gov. Jared Polis, a pro-marijuana Democrat, for his signature.

Here are some business implications from the measures:

  • SB19-013: Will permit physicians to recommend medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids. This could buoy a flagging MMJ market. Colorado MMJ sales have declined as recreational cannabis sales increased. In 2017, 3.7 million opioid prescriptions were issued in the state, according to Colorado’s drug-monitoring program. State health officials reported 1,635 prescription opioid-related overdose deaths in Colorado between 2013 and 2017.
  • SB19-224: Extends the regulated marijuana industry in Colorado and puts in place regulations designed to streamline the licensing process. For example, the bill permits a licensee that has submitted a timely renewal application to operate until the application is acted upon. In addition to allowing MJ retail stores to sell industrial hemp consumables, the bill will require industrial hemp used in medical marijuana-infused products or retail cannabis products to receive testing prior to processing.

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One comment on “Colorado legislators OK medical cannabis as opioid alternative
  1. Jean Sund on

    Amazing that medical marijuana users are still subjected to an expensive, invasive, complicated and overly long process to get a medical card from the state, all for a substance that has been declared legal. Why can’t my physician prescribe for me, something she is more than willing to do. Saving me a hour long trip to the nearest MJ Dr., paying a punitive amount to get approved and then have to wait a week while someone decides to process….
    All this and yet, there is no like registry for opioid users in the state. a substance that is responsible for a mounting number of deaths. Something is definitely wrong with priorities here.


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