DENVER, CO — They have two months to create the rules to regulate a new industry of legalized, regulated marijuana sales in Colorado. They are members of a task force created by an executive order on December 10, when Gov. John Hickenlooper officially declared Amendment 64 law. Their mission: establishing a regulatory framework for a new statewide marijuana industry.
With the holidays over, the people who will be crafting regulations for Colorado’s new recreational-marijuana industry went back to work Thursday, when two subgroups within the task force met to discuss consumer safety, how to label commercial marijuana and whether recreational marijuana should be regulated like alcohol or closer to how medical marijuana is currently handled in Colorado.
There are five such subgroups that will work through a list of issues, which stretches more than 100 items long, to make recommendations to the full task force.
Among the many questions the task force will have to wrestle with: how to track marijuana so that it doesn’t get diverted to the black market, whether to limit THC content in marijuana, impose requirements on growing standards, labeling and advertising, whether to implement restrictions to keep marijuana out of the hands of minors, and whether marijuana sales should be limited to residents of Colorado.
The task force has until the end of next month to issue a report.
The full task force will then adopt plans for how lawmakers and state officials should approach recreational-marijuana regulations.
“As we move forward now with implementation of Amendment 64, we will try to maintain as much flexibility as possible to accommodate the federal government’s position on the amendment,” Hickenlooper said in a statement.
Amendment 64 allows for adults, 21 and older, to possess up to an ounce of marijuana as well as grow up to six plants — with only three of the plants mature and flowering — all for personal, recreational use.
The Task Force is co-chaired by Jack Finlaw, the Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel, and Barbara Brohl, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Revenue. There are 24 total members, representing the Colorado state government, public health and safety, agriculture, the medical marijuana industry, legal experts, and the Amendment 64 legalization campaign.
The members of the task force are:
- Rep. Dan Pabon, appointed by the incoming Speaker of the House;
- Sen. Cheri Jahn, appointed by the incoming President of the Senate;
- Rep.-elect Dan Nordberg, appointed by the incoming House Minority Leader;
- Sen.-elect Vicki Marble, appointed by the incoming Senate Minority Leader;
- David Blake, representing the Colorado Attorney General;
- Kevin Bommer, representing the Colorado Municipal League;
- Eric Bergman, representing Colorado Counties Inc.;
- Chris Urbina, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment;
- James Davis, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety;
- John Salazar, the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture;
- Ron Kammerzell, the Senior Director responsible for the Colorado Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division;
- Christian Sederberg, representing the campaign to pass Amendment 64;
- Meg Sanders, representing the medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation industry;
- Craig Small, representing marijuana consumers;
- Sam Kamin, a person with expertise in legal issues related to the legalization of marijuana;
- Dr. Christian Thurstone, a person with expertise in the treatment of marijuana addiction;
- Charles Garcia, representing the Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice;
- Larry Abrahamson, representing the Colorado District Attorney’s Council;
- Brian Connors, representing the Colorado State Public Defender;
- Daniel Zook, an at-large member from outside of the Denver area;
- Tamra Ward, representing the interests of employers; and
- Mike Cerbo, representing the interests of employees.
Issues that the task force will address include: the need to amend current state and local laws regarding the possession, sale, distribution or transfer of marijuana and marijuana products to conform them to Amendment 64’s decriminalization provisions; the need for new regulations for such things as security requirements for marijuana establishments and for labeling requirements; education regarding long-term health effects of marijuana use and harmful effects of marijuana use by those under the age of 18; and the impact of Amendment 64 on employers and employees and the Colorado economy.