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Colorado seems ready for House Bill 1284 in order to effectively regulate its medical marijuana industry. After the insertion of numerous new provisions and months of debates, the bill passed its second reading on the Senate floor.
medical cannabisThe new regulations will result in the closure of almost half of the state’s 1,100 medical marijuana dispensaries. This aims to “get the knuckleheads out of the business,” according to Senator Chris Romer, while still allowing sick patients access to medical cannabis. Dispensaries are now to grow 70% of their marijuana in-house and to stay open only until 7:00 PM. The bill also allows local governments to ban dispensaries within their borders, although they do not have this authority over private caregivers who provide medical cannabis for only a maximum of 5 patients.
The provision on implementing a local ban has met strong reactions, with medical marijuana advocates and dispensary owners saying that it violates the constitutional right to medical marijuana passed by voters in 2000. Those who oppose to the bill stress that it actually takes the state back to the time when marijuana was a street drug that made illegal providers rich and happy.
The bill will be sent back to the House to review the changes made to the bill. When both houses reach an agreement, it will be sent to Governor Bill Ritter’s desk for approval and subsequent implementation.
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