Pot regulations in for more changes in Senate
Associated Press Writer
DENVER (AP) – Proposed regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries are in for more changes in the Senate, which will hold its first hearing on the issue on Tuesday.
The bill sponsor, Sen. Chris Romer, wants to ban people under 21 from going inside dispensaries and wants to bar people from out-of-state from opening dispensaries.
The proposed regulations, approved by the House, would already require owners to undergo criminal background checks and that dispensaries grow most of their own marijuana. Romer thinks that about 80 percent of the estimated 1,000 dispensaries in the state would have to close as a result.
Meanwhile, a group of Republican lawmakers wants to ask voters to just ban dispensaries altogether. Their proposed referendum would require that only actual people – not shops – be able to provide medical marijuana to patients and that those caregivers also help patients with the daily necessities of life. They need to get support from two-thirds of lawmakers to get it on the ballot.
Prosecutors and Attorney General John Suthers have been urging lawmakers not to regulate dispensaries because they say that will legitimize an industry that they say wasn’t sanctioned under the medical marijuana law passed by voters in 2000. Backers of Amendment 20 point out that the law does reference dispensing of the drug.
Lawmakers are close to passing a less controversial measure (Senate Bill 109) that bars doctors from writing medical marijuana recommendations if their medical license isn’t active or has been restricted by regulators of if they’ve lost their federal certification to prescribe drugs.