Despite Arduous Goals, Relatively Smooth Sailing for Colorado Cannabis Task Force

colorado marijuana

A task force set up to propose regulations on the adult use of marijuana in Colorado is set to release its final report next week, a major milestone that lays the initial groundwork for retail cannabis sales.

The group, to the surprise of some, hit its deadlines without any major obstacles and has kept the state on track to implement rules on the nascent industry later this year. Even more surprising: The process – while time-consuming, at times heated and certainly exhausting for those involved – went relatively smoothly considering the task at hand.

Rather than drive a wedge between stakeholders with different ideas on how the industry should develop, the task force meetings actually brought some members with conflicting views closer together.

“Basically we saw the opposite of what many expected to happen,” said Christian Sederberg, a Denver marijuana business attorney who sat on the task force. “Instead of positional arguing and the entrenching of ideas, people actually worked together. I came away with much stronger relationships with people who fundamentally disagree with my views on this. We were able to find common ground.”

Sederberg, for instance, found himself working side-by-side with locals involved in the campaign against Colorado’s recreational marijuana law (Amendment 64).

The 24-member group included MMJ lawyers, state lawmakers, industry professionals, law enforcement personnel, health officials and individuals representing marijuana consumers, communities, general employers and employees.

Of course, not everyone on the task force is pleased with everything the group settled on, and there were plenty of disagreements. Much work still needs to be done, and delays could materialize as lawmakers use the recommendations to craft regulations. Some of the proposals tied to taxes would also have to be put in front of voters in November. The controversy, therefore, is sure to increase going forward.

But the fact that the task force came up with more than a dozen recommendations on a very weighty topic in such a short time is an achievement in and of itself.

“The recommendations that were put forward ranged from those that were very simple and matters of necessity all the way up to the very controversial,” Sederberg said. “They all got discussed, voted on and pushed through. All in all the process worked very well. No one really got everything they wanted, and for the most part these recommendations are substantive, well thought-out and provided in a format they can use in the legislature.”

The task force met six times over an 80-day period, for four hours each session. Sederberg estimates he spent between 200-300 hours just on work related to the group.

While the report released next week will contain a detailed list of suggestions as well as the reasons behind them, here are some of the general recommendations it will make:

– Allow visitors and tourists – not just residents – to purchase cannabis at retail stores.

– Levy a 15% excise tax on wholesale marijuana transactions between retail shops and growers and an undetermined tax on marijuana sales to customers; require cannabis stores to pay state and local taxes.

– Prohibit outdoor growing.

– Require retail stores to grow at least 70% of the cannabis they sell, which is also the requirement for medical cannabis dispensaries.

– Set regulations on potency labels, packaging, purchasing limits and advertising.

– Ban cannabis use at bars, clubs and restaurants, and prohibit cannabis donations.

– Require cannabis businesses to track the entire production and sales process, from seed to sale.

– Allow employers to fire workers for using marijuana in their free time.

9 comments on “Despite Arduous Goals, Relatively Smooth Sailing for Colorado Cannabis Task Force
  1. Regina Nelson on

    Wow, what a crappy legalization type scheme, I certainly would not call this legal and it seems to work against nearly everything medical…

  2. john w on

    if a person can be fired for the use of cannabis, on their own free time ,then let the same rules apply for the use of alcohol, and presciption drugs as well,no need in choosing one substance, in particular, to ruin a persons life. this rule should apply to all mind altering substances

  3. Todd on

    This is really poor. Turn Colorado into a cannabis tourist destination but allow Colorado residents to suffer the loss of their employment for using this legal substance. Shame on you Cannabis Task Force, pull your head out and protect Colorado residents.

  4. john d. on

    sounds to me like they’re trying to make it really easy for big business (and no one else) to come in and set up shop. this sucks…

  5. dan on

    With a huge energy crisis no outdoor growing is absurd. Why waste the energy of the sun on what it does best, growing plants. Locked greenhouses should definitely be allowed, that will keep the little kids out and conserve the environment!

  6. John Sajo on

    Prohibiting outdoor cultivation is much worse than absurd, it is criminal. Did we really end marijuana prohibition just to create laws that are a billion dollar subsidy to the power company? Allowing outdoor cultivation (which in greenhouses can be as controlled and precise as indoor growing) would be the largest energy conserving measure America could take. Where is the outrage?

  7. Robert Chase on

    The Task Force completely ignored its main task — to cociliate the laws against cannabis with those controling alcohol. Before too many more chickens get counted, stop to consider the victims of Prohibition, those people incarcerated in our corporate prisons or about to be. Amendment 64 did not overturn a single prohibitionist statute, and the A64 Task Force did not address the issue of the gross disparity between penalties for cannabis and those for alcohol. Colorado is very good at ignoring the elephant in the room, but I am going to point it out anyway!

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