Colorado Releases Marijuana Growing, Sales Regulations

Colorado Releases Marijuana Growing, Sales Regulations

DENVER, CO — Detailed rules for how recreational marijuana in Colorado should be grown and sold starting next year were released Monday.

The state department that will regulate marijuana released more than 60 pages of rules for how marijuana sales will be licensed and regulated. The Colorado Legislature set broad parameters earlier this year, but many nitty-gritty rules were left to the Department of Revenue.

Marijuana possession by adults has been legal since last December in Colorado, but retail sales don’t begin until January. The voter-approved marijuana legalization measure adopted last year required the department to release rules by July 1. The rules released Monday don’t apply to medical marijuana dispensaries.

The rules, though, are ultimately placeholders that state officials hope to have rewritten by the time any recreational marijuana stores actually open in January 2014. The first-draft “emergency rules” were released Monday to comply with a deadline set in Amendment 64, the measure voters approved in November that legalized marijuana retail sales to people over 21.

The rules require labels to include potency, expiration dates and a disclaimer that marijuana isn’t legal outside Colorado and hasn’t been safety-tested.

Recreational marijuana will also come with the disclaimer that “there may be health risks associated with the consumption of this product.”

Marijuana labels won’t be allowed to make claims that the product brings any health benefit.

The rules also detail exact specifications for who can work in marijuana businesses and how the drug can be transported and stored.

The department’s rules indicate it plans to establish seed-to-sale tracking, making producers and sellers responsible for each plant destined for retail sale. The state’s current medical marijuana business is subject to the same rule, though the department hasn’t been able to adequately fund the seed-to-sale tracking.

State officials believe that if voters approve steep cannabis taxes this fall—a 15 percent excise tax and a 15 percent sales tax—they’ll be able to properly monitor every pot plant.

Washington state, the only other state to authorize marijuana use without a doctor’s recommendation, is also finalizing draft rules for retail recreational marijuana sales starting next year.

Both states await word from the U.S. Department of Justice about how it plans to respond to the states’ defiance of federal drug law.

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