Colorado Considers Drastic Measures to Defend Against Potential Federal Marijuana Crackdown

(From the 2017 archives)

The threat of a federal marijuana crackdown continues to loom. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made a number of recent statements that show his stance has not softened on recreational marijuana use. The AG even suggested medical marijuana has been overhyped in a Q&A with law enforcement officials earlier this month in Richmond, West Virginia.

With tensions over state vs federal marijuana law enforcement continuing to rise, many state reps in recreational cannabis states are preparing to fight back against increased federal marijuana enforcement. And, a bill introduced in the Colorado legislature offers may have found a solution – at least a partial one.

What Will Happen if SB 192 Passes?

Introduced by Colorado Senator Tim Neville (District 16), SB 192 would – among other things – serve as a defense for recreational marijuana business owners.

Carrying the weighty but applicable name of “Marijuana Business Efficiency Measures”, the bill would allow a recreational marijuana business or owner to transfer products to a licensed medical marijuana business “based on a business need due to a change in local, state, or federal law or enforcement policy.” So, if the federal government were to change their enforcement policy in Colorado – as seems increasingly possible – business owners could protect themselves and their assets by transitioning to a medical marijuana dispensary.

Not only would this serve as an “exit strategy” for recreational business owners, but it would help protect the state. If recreational dispensaries were forced to close, more than 400,000 marijuana plants would suddenly become homeless. By creating a path to keep those plants within a legal industry – should the federal government increase enforcement – Colorado would prevent a majority from entering the underground market.

But, that’s not all the bill would do. Of greater interest to many consumers is a provision that would allow medical and retail cannabis dispensaries to apply for an endorsement to deliver marijuana. You read that correctly: marijuana delivery may be coming to Colorado.

The bill passed a Republican Senate committee 4-1 earlier this month and is currently under consideration.

Opposition and Drawbacks to the Bill

Because recreational marijuana is taxed at a much higher rate than medical (17.9 percent vs 2.9 percent), many opponents of SB 192 say it would remove millions of dollars in tax revenue if it passes. And, if many recreational businesses are forced to make the change, the number could climb top $100 million lost each year.

That loss of money would hurt cannabis-related police training, public education campaigns, and medical studies. Perhaps the hardest hit, however, would be schools in need. The excise tax on pot that generated $40 million for Colorado schools doesn’t exist for medical marijuana.

Additionally, because the same bill would also allow marijuana delivery, it may face greater or more varied resistance from competing industries and anti-marijuana groups than it would otherwise.

How Are Other States Responding?

Colorado is on pace to be the first state that takes action in response to a potential federal marijuana crackdown. But, it’s hardly the only one.

Oregon is considering a measure that would make it illegal for marijuana shops to keep internal records of customer personal data. California may bar local and state law enforcement from cooperating with federal agencies that are investigating marijuana operations that are legal in that jurisdiction.

It should be noted that a change in federal enforcement isn’t a sure thing. And if a change is officially proposed it could still be blocked by Congress. Representatives from several states have already said they are opposed to increased federal enforcement in states that have legalized cannabis.

Karing Kind is Boulder’s First Recreational Marijuana Dispensary

There are a lot of things to love about SB 192. It protects marijuana business owners and opens the door to marijuana delivery. But, there are drawbacks, and – like any bill – it has a long road ahead of it. We’ll keep you posted. And, in the meantime, why not stop by the shop and say hello?

Karing Kind is Boulder’s first recreational marijuana dispensary, and we’re proud to be part of such a passionate industry. We strive to offer a top-tier experience every time you enter our store. Our wide selection of strains, concentrates, and edibles, along with our award-winning budtenders and the lowest marijuana tax rate in the state, makes us the perfect Colorado cannabis destination.

Karing Kind is located just off of US-36, one mile north of Broadway, open DAILY from 9am to 10pm.

While we carry a variety of strains, concentrates, edibles, salves and tinctures, inventory and stock levels fluctuate from week to week and month to month. Check our menu and follow us on Twitter for an up-to-date list of edibles, concentrates and buds available now.