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State lawmakers look to regulate high-potency marijuana and medicinal marijuana

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Posted at 6:46 PM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 20:56:22-04

DENVER -- Colorado’s marijuana industry could be in for a big change as lawmakers consider a new bill introduced in the House Friday.

"This legislation meets that trend and addresses that fact that our medical marijuana laws have enabled teen access to high potency marijuana," said attorney general, Phil Weiser.

The bill focuses on people between the ages of 18 and 20, limiting them on purchasing more than two grams of THC concentrate per day, down from 40 grams, and creates a new system to track purchases preventing people from visiting several dispensaries in a day.

House Bill 21-1317 would require a medical marijuana practitioner to certify an authorization to the department of public health and environment. The bill requires the certification to include:

  • The date of issue and the effective date of the recommendation;
  • The patient's name and address;
  • The recommending physician's name, address, and federal drug enforcement agency number;
  • The THC potency level of medical marijuana being recommended;
  • The dosage form;
  • The daily authorized quantity;
  • Directions for use; and
  • The recommending physician's signature.

"Those products are then being pedaled through a black market across high school campuses in Colorado," said Speaker of the House Alec Garnett, D-Denver, a prime sponsor of the bill.

The bill would require people in this age range (18-20) to see two different doctors from separate practices before getting a medicinal marijuana card and would also ask the Colorado School of Public Health to study the effects of high potency cannabis products on young adults.

"We do not think it is a smart bill. We think this is something to discuss but not something to approve," said CEO of the Coffee Joint and Yuma Way, Rita Tsalyuk.

It would also prohibit medical marijuana advertising that is specifically directed to those ages 18 to 20 years old and requires medical and retail marijuana concentrate advertising to include a warning regarding the possible risks of medical marijuana concentrate overconsumption.

Tsalyuk disagrees with a part of the bill that requires businesses to sell medical and retail marijuana concentrates in packaging that separates each gram into at least 10 separately portioned amounts.

"We already are trying to eliminate waste as best we can and it is going to create more waste, its going to have more labor, more room for mistakes, more things to track and regulate," said Tsalyuk.

But for a mother who witnessed her daughter survive the effects of high potency cannabis, the regulation is needed.

"Our children are being used as sacrificial lambs in the wrong hands of wrong people without any regulations, without any responsibility," said the mother who spoke before a crowd of people from inside the state capitol.

With so many items in this bill, it leaves some wondering about the domino effects on others.

"We all agree that we want the safety, but this bill is not about safety. It is everywhere. It is about limiting medical patients, costing more goods to the business--this is bigger than safety," said Melanie Brineger.

For people in need, legislators say they’re access to medicinal marijuana won’t change.

"For the 0-17 population, for the kids who have moved to Colorado who are working with their parents to make sure they have access to their medicine, we want to make sure they continue to have access," said Garnett.