This month has been trying for medical cannabis and patients to say the least.
It started on March 1st when State law makers proposed House Bill 1250. This bill directly threatened the medication options of thousands of patients over the illusionary danger that children may mistake edibles for actual food items. In fact, the sponsor of the bill, Cindy Acree used this in her argument to propose this bill. In short, HB1250 proposed a ban on ALL edibles and infused products across Colorado.
When I traveled to the Capitol building in Denver to testify against this bill, I found myself delighted to see so many advocates, patients, business owners, and citizens who turned out to oppose this ridiculous piece of legislation. We also found out, last minute, that the legislator of the bill (Cindy Acree)changed HB1250 provisions to require the State to mandate packaging requirements on infused products instead of an outright ban.
Immediately, it appeared the legislator was ignorant to existing law. After all, HB 1284 created an administrative arm (MMED) to create and enforce whatever rules they deem necessary to control the tide of cannabis business. Packaging is included in these rules. In fact, it is just one requirement in their 100 pages of Emergency rules that will be applied to cannabis centers across the State.
The testimony in favor of HB 1250 on behalf of the State included Representative Acree and police officers. The police primarily testified about isolated and resolved cases involving schools who’ve had students bring medical cannabis edibles to class. Their argument was that products like “Cap’n Chronic” and “Pot Tarts” would confuse children into cannabis use. Although this argument was supported by Acree, the police, and the Colorado Drug Investigators Association, it had no actual basis.
Pot Tarts were an illegal product discontinued in 2006, out of California, and Cap’n Chronic is just a t-shirt design. These misleading products don’t actually exist in Colorado. Read here for more details on this charade.
The change to requiring packaging from the State legislation instead of the Medical Marijuana regulatory administration leaves the law convoluted and bypasses the powers granted to the MMED in HB1284. Right now, politicians are attempting to create their own packaging requirements and have approved this bill to go to the finance committee on a 7-3 vote.
This is an example of what Representative Acree has in mind for the industry in HB1250.
How she thinks her rural background and experience in organizational development qualify her to know more than Regulatory Veteran Matt Cook and his panel of over 30 medical marijuana industry experts and lawyers, should make patients and supporters question Acree’s objectives.
After all, why would she use her power to bypass the powers already vested in the MMED?
In the end, the fight appears to be an appeasing move by the State in Amending HB 1250 to dictate packaging requirements already demanded and being supplied by the market. Politicians continue abusing legislative power to create this redundant Statute that will mandate compliance with both State dictated and MMED created packaging regulation. Is this additional law being made just to penalize violators even more harshly, give legislators more power, or are we “protecting the children” as these politicians claim?
Serious questions warranting serious consideration when the survival of medical cannabis business and the health of patients are on the line. As always, I encourage writing these politicians and voicing your opinion regarding their actions and this bill:
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Up Next… The HB 1261 Fight