Colorado’s legislature is considering major changes to its medical and adult-use cannabis systems. If passed, the proposals would constitute the largest changes to Colorado cannabis policy since the 2012 passage of adult-use cannabis legalization, the Denver Post reports.
Echoing a growing chorus of prevention voices from around the country, a recent proposal in Colorado seeks to limit THC in cannabis concentrates in response to youth access concerns. Other proposals include better-regulated purchasing limits for both medical patients and adult consumers, as well as the tightening of the medical cannabis recommendation process (which would require an in-person meeting to ensure that a doctor and patient have a “bona fide relationship”).
“In the last couple years, I’ve seen much more frequent use among teenagers, to the extent that I just saw a patient — young lady, cheerleader, great kid all around, but she’s been using these [high-potency] products daily and ended up in the hospital because she was vomiting constantly and lost 25 pounds.” — Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D), primary sponsor and the legislature’s only medical doctor, via the Post
Originally, Rep. Caraveo’s bill proposed a 15 percent THC cap for concentrates but that exact number was reversed following industry backlashed. While the possibility of a THC cap is still being discussed, no further potency limits have been settled on yet and it’s also not clear whether such a THC cap may be considered for cannabis flower products.
The proposals are strongly disputed by the medical and adult-use cannabis industries, with some advocates calling the legislation akin to a “soft prohibition.”
Wanda James, owner of the Simply Pure dispensaries in Denver, told the Post, “I would like someone to explain to me why this is being wrapped around, ‘Oh, the children, the children.’ What we’re discussing here is clearly a parenting issue, not a business issue.
“These legislators do this all the time,” said James. “It does nothing but put their names in the paper and get their 15 minutes.”
Rep. Caraveo did acknowledge that the industry has “some benefits” but said the industry “has changed,” referring to a shift in cannabis sales from being mostly flower in 2014 to flower now making up less than half the market and concentrates accounting for one-third of Colorado’s 2019 cannabis sales. Rep. Caraveo was also open about who supports her efforts, admitting that the bills were aided by anti-cannabis outlets like Smart Approaches to Marijuana and Smart Colorado, who have backed THC cap proposals in other states and have publicly disputed the need for cannabis reforms for years.
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