Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Governor Bill Ritter to Sign Marijuana Bill

Governor Bill Ritter has indicated he will sign a bill regulating state
marijuana dispensaries.

Colorado lawmakers have passed a bill allowing state officials to
regulate medicinal marijuana dispensaries within the state.

The State House voted 46-19 on Tuesday afternoon to approve House Bill
1284 (78 pages -\
EC6DB1E8872576A80029D7E2?Open&file=1284_rer.pdf). The bill will require
local dispensaries to obtain licenses before selling marijuana to
patients. The bill will also allow bans on dispensaries within local
communities. Caregivers would still be able to obtain and dispense the
drug. In addition, the measure regulates where dispensaries can be
located (no closer than 1,000 feet from a school, much like liquor

Opponents have criticized the measure as legitimizing marijuana.

Supporters of the legislation argue it will help regulate an industries
in which thousands already depend on.

Regulators expect only about half of the existing 1,100 dispensaries in
the state to be able to continue operating under the rules.

Under the proposal, owners would have to undergo criminal background
checks, and the state's revenue department would check to insure
that all funding is free of criminal ties. Dispensaries would also have
to grow 70 percent of their marijuana, a provision aimed at keeping tabs
on where the drug is being sold.

Among the most controversial components of the bill include a provision
keeping the location of marijuana grows secret. Some members of the
House wanted to try to negotiate those parts out of the bill before the
end of the session on Wednesday.

Combined with another bill seeking to regulate the doctor-patient
relationships, lawmakers feel they finally have a grasp on the issue.

"We believe it's in as good a place as it's going to be," Mr. Ritter

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