After months of work, the marijuana Task Force has completed its task of creating regulations on marijuana, which will be recommended to the state. Not all of these recommendations will be implemented, but it is a large step in the regulation of the recent passage of amendment 64. Some of those recommendations include:
- Taxing marijuana
- Allowing employers to fire employees for off-the-job marijuana use
- Allowing marijuana sales to out-of-state residents
- Advertising of marijuana
- New training for law enforcement to detect impaired drivers
- Revising the Colorado Clean Air Act to include the impact of marijuana smoke
- Child-proof packaging
- Requiring marijuana products to have labels of potency
- And more
While there is still a disagreement on the specific taxation amount for marijuana, the panel has agreed that it “should be taxed more than cigarettes but lower than alcohol.” There is an argument being made that high taxes on marijuana could possibly create a black market sale of marijuana, but at the moment the tax is low enough to avoid this problem. The Task Forced has used the example of a 25% tax being high enough to drive marijuana sales to the black market. The actual amount will be established by the legislature.
Allowing employers to fire employees for off-the-job marijuana use is a hot topic. Proponents on the issue hope that this recommendation will start to change as more states begin to legalize marijuana.
The Task Force had also agreed that there would be no ban on the sale of marijuana to out-of-state residents. The Task Force has made suggestions on limiting the amount of marijuana out-of-state residents can buy. Limiting the amount is hoped to help prevent marijuana that is sold in Colorado from leaving the state.
Childproof packaging is probably one of the least controversial recommendations that the task force has made. The safety of children is always a very high priority, and protecting them from accidental ingestion of drugs, alcohol, or other harmful substances is a major concern for all members of the Task Force.
Governor Hickenlooper called for “caution” at the final meeting of the Task Force. He stated, “I’m not saying the sky is falling and we’re going to have thousands of homeless teenagers we didn’t have before, but we will have more.” Some proponents question the governor’s facts but they do acknowledge his concerns.
Chris Sederberg, who led the committee to pass Amendment 64, mentioned many smaller issues that the Task Force still has to solve, but believes that the Task Force has provided resolution for the big issues already. It is still very early and only time will tell how the legislature is going to react to these suggestions and what regulations will actually be implemented.