Tomorrow is a big day for medical marijuana in Colorado. The long awaited vote on medical marijuana legislation sponsored by Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, and Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver (see link) will happen Thursday, after weeks of informal negotiations between industry leaders, activists, program participants, and politicians. The current version of the bill would allow dispensaries to operate for a profit, but under tight regulations. As expected, neither side is happy with the final product.
There has been an explosion of local ordinances and moratoriums on dispensaries throughout Colorado. This will be the first of a few steps in order to get a statewide, comprehensive plan for medical marijuana in Colorado. As it stands right now, the feds are doing as they please in Colorado, case law says that dispensaries are ok, and local municipalities are enacting their own rules because the state is absent. It will be nice to finally start the legislative process, for better or worse, and get everyone on the same page in Colorado, because law enforcement always seems to take advantage of confusion like this.
One answer that people will have to wait for is ‘how will the feds react to this kind of legislation?’ The State of California is behind in the process, so Colorado is the first state to try a statewide bill that allows a ‘for profit’ dispensary system for the purposes of tax generation. The feds have stated that they will go after people that profit from medical marijuana, but also said they will respect people that are within the parameters of state laws. It could be a showdown in the Rocky West! It’s hard to tell if the bill will pass as is, or have amendments on the legislative floor, or be remanded for further review, or denied outright. I can tell you one thing; I will be anxiously awaiting news out of Denver tomorrow.