13 cannabis-related bills fly through Colorado’s Democratic-controlled legislature

HB 1146: Tandem DUI Per Se was withdrawn during Colorado's 2019 legislative session

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13 cannabis-related bills fly through Colorado’s Democratic-controlled legislature

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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The 2019 legislative session was a busy one for Colorado, where a total of 15 cannabis-related bills were introduced. Among the 15 cannabis bills to reach the legislature during this year’s session, 13 passed.

Those measures included two huge but distinct measures that broaden and refresh medical and recreational cannabis codes in the state. Other proposals urging for social consumption spaces and delivery services managed to pass, following numerous rejections by the legislature during previous sessions.

Some other bills created to expand the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in Colorado also passed through the legislature during this year’s Colorado General Assembly. So far, governor Jared Polis has signed two of the cannabis bill introduced in Colorado legislative session. Polis’ slow confirmation does not necessarily mean that he plans to disregard any, unlike John Hickenlooper, who vetoed two bills in 2018.

Let’s take a closer look at Colorado’s cannabis bills:

  1. HB 1028: Medical Cannabis Condition Autism – This bill’s prime sponsors were Senator Don Coram (R-District 6), Representative Edie Hooton (D-District 10), Senator Stephen Fenberg (D-District 18) and Representative Kim Ransom (R-District 44). It passed and has already been signed by the governor.
  2. HB 1031: Child Patient More Than One Primary Caregiver – This bill’s prime sponsors were Representative Matt Gray (D-District 33) and Senator Julie Gonzalez (D-District 34). Its passing means that every minor medical cannabis patient’s parental guardian can serve as their primary caregiver.
  3. HB 1055: Public School Cap Construction Financial Assistance – This bill’s prime sponsors were Senator Rachel Zenzinger (D-District 19) and Representative Shannon Bird (D-District 35). Starting on July 1, 2019, this cannabis bill bestows 90 percent of the state’s first $40 million retail cannabis excise tax revenue to the public school capital construction assistance fund.
  4. HB 1090: Publicly Licensed Cannabis Companies – This bill’s prime sponsors were Senator Owen Hill (R-District 10), Representative Matt Gray (D-District 33), Senator Julie Gonzalez (D-District 34), Representative Kevin Van Winkle (R-District 43). Its passing means that cannabis businesses in Colorado will gain better investment opportunities.
  5. HB 1146: Tandem DUI Per Se – This bill – which was withdrawn – was sponsored by Representative Dylan Roberts (D-District 26) and Representative Hugh McKean (R-District 51). It would have included tandem DUI per se as a new traffic offense if a peace officer can prove a violation of the law.
  6. HB 1230: Cannabis Hospitality Establishments – This bill’s prime sponsors were Representative Jonathan Singer (D-District 11), Senator Vicki Marble (R-District 23), Senator Julie Gonzalez (D-District 34) and Representative Jovan Melton (D-District 41). Its passing means that an appropriation has been made for the development of a hospitality establishment in Colorado.
  7. HB 1234: Regulated Cannabis Delivery – This bill’s prime sponsors were Representative Alex Valdez, (D-District 5), Representative Jonathan Singer (D-District 11), Senator Vicki Marble (R-District 23) and Senator Julie Gonzalez (D-District 34). Its passing means that an appropriation has been made to grant regulated cannabis sellers the legal ability to deliver their own cannabis products to customers.
  8. HB 1311: Institute Of Cannabis Research Role And Mission – This bill’s prime sponsors were Representative Jonathan Singer (D-District 11) and Senator Jeff Bridges (D-District 26). It details information regarding the development of a cannabis research institute at Colorado State University-Pueblo.
  9. SB 13: Medical Cannabis Condition Opiates Prescribed For – This bill’s prime sponsors were Representative Edie Hooton (D-District 10), Senator Joann Ginal (D-District 14), Senator Vicki Marble (R-District 23) and Representative Kim Ransom (R-District 44). Its passing means that a physician can add opiates to a list of disabling conditions that authorize permission for a patient to treat his/her condition with medical cannabis.
  10. SB 93: Firearms Rights of Medical Cannabis Users – This bill’s prime sponsors were Senator Vicki Marble (R-District 23) and Representative Bri Buentello (D-District 47). It failed, meaning that medical cannabis patients can be denied the right to purchase a gun if they have committed a previous cannabis-related felony.
  11. SB 213: Cannabis Cash Fund Transfer – This bill’s prime sponsors were Senator Bob Rankin (R-District 8) and Representative Kim Ransom (R-District 44). It has also been signed by the Governor and demands the state treasurer to submit a transfer from the cannabis cash fund to the cannabis tax cash fund. The state treasurer will transfer $914,416 on July 1 this year and $890,901 on July 1 next year.
  12. SB 218: Sunset Medical Cannabis Program – This bill’s prime sponsors were Representative Sonya Jaquez Lewis (D-District 12) and Senator Julie Gonzalez (D-District 34). Parents with a disabled child can become a primary caregiver based on the details of this bill, which also confirms that the physician is the only person who can make a medical cannabis recommendation.
  13. SB 220: Hemp Regulation Alignment With 2018 Federal Farm Bill – This bill’s prime sponsors were Senator Stephen Fenberg (D-District 18), Senator Vicki Marble (R-District 23), Representative Jeni James Arndt (D-District 53) and Representative Lori Saine (R-District 63). It straightens up the industrial hemp regulatory program to conform with the regulatory requirements detailed in the federal farm bill.
  14. SB 224: Sunset Regulated Cannabis – This bill’s prime sponsors were Representative Leslie Herod (D-District 8), Senator Stephen Fenberg (D-District 18), Senator Julie Gonzalez (D-District 34) and Representative Kevin Van Winkle (R-District 43). Its passing focuses on recommendations like those included in the Sunset program.
  15. SB 240: Industrial Hemp Products Regulation – This bill’s prime sponsors were Senator Stephen Fenberg (D-District 18), Senator Vicki Marble (R-District 23), Representative Barbara McLachlan (D-District 59) and Representative Lori Saine (R-District 63). It concerns the regulation of industrial hemp-containing commercial products.

The legal weed industry is thriving in Colorado

Colorado’s cannabis industry is doing very well indeed. As of May 7, 2018, a total of 88,946 patients were currently enrolled in the State’s medical cannabis program and this figure is constantly climbing. Based on data published by the Department of Revenue, combined medical and recreational cannabis sales in Colorado have pulled in $6,426,409,503 since January 2014.

Further developments in the industry at large,  such as scientific discoveries pertaining to the plant’s medicinal compounds and the innovation/creation of cannabis products, are contributing to the ongoing growth experienced by the state’s legal weed market. With continuous efforts from lawmakers to regulate, oversee and develop the market, future success is inevitable for Colorado’s cannabis industry.