One day before the legislative session ended Wednesday, state representatives passed House Bill 1284 by a vote of 46-19, making the governor's desk its last stop before law. Though some in the medical marijuana community are happy to be regulated in some way, others remain ambivalent at best.
"I was disappointed [about its passage]," says attorney Clifton Black, who fears that local governments will take their cue from the state, ban medical marijuana centers and needlessly incur expensive lawsuits on the taxpayer dime.
Matt Brown from Coloradans for Medical Marijuana Regulation sees it both ways; in an e-mail blast Brown says, "There are a number of bad parts of this bill ... however, there are also a number of very good additions," citing the bill's encouragement of banks to work with the MMJ industry as one.
Lastly and locally, Roy Moots from Roy's Cannabis Connection says he isn't worried about his business, but government as a whole: "Our government really needs to get a wake-up call, 'cause this is not their place, to regulate commerce. Fix our roads, you know, that's their job. They're sticking their nose where it don't belong."
For an explanation of some of the bill's finer points, read here.
Of course, Colorado's hardly alone wrestling with MMJ issues. At the beginning of May, the city of Los Angeles began to scale back MMJ dispensaries by telling more than 500 owners to close — if they opened after November 2007, when an unenforced moratorium was enacted — or to register and ensure compliance with city guidelines. Officials estimate that some 130 dispensaries will remain, says the Los Angeles Times.
Also, a new report from the California State Board of Equalization — responsible for collecting state sales and use tax — says the state is collecting between $50 and $100 million per year from MMJ-related sales tax. That could increase to as much as $1.2 billion with outright legalization, says the California branch of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). This coming while California tries to close a roughly $20 billion deficit.
• Opening Thursday, Total Health Concepts (502 S. Weber St., 471-4180) is an offshoot of a five-month-old, Denver-based parent. THC's owner (who wished to remain nameless) says the 1,700-square-foot medical marijuana center will offer $10 grams on half its inventory. "If you become legal, you should be able to get affordable medicine," he says. Look for 15 to 20 strains, as well as edibles ranging from candies and ice cream to full meals, like medicated enchiladas.
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