Colorado governor John Hickenlooper is pushing to get some legislation on the books that may help distinguish the legitimate pot growers from those operations cultivating for marijuana black market sales.
As it stands, Colorado has some of the more liberal marijuana laws in the United States. The rules of the medical marijuana program give authorized patients the freedom to cultivate up to 99 plants, while the average stoner is permitted to grow up to six plants under the language of Amendment 64. It is the state’s “generous allowances” that Governor Hickenlooper credits for creating a powerful black market, and he wants it to end.
Getting A Handle On The Situation
Therefore, a number of proposals are set to go before the Colorado General Assembly in 2017 intended to trip up the pulse of the illegal cannabis sector. Some of the bills expected to be heard is one designed to put a stop to collective recreational grow operations, as well as another intended to hold medical marijuana patients more accountable for the weed they grow.
Colorado officials are concerned that if they do not make it a point to start cracking down on the grey areas of the state’s legal cannabis trade, it will only give the government administration more of a reason to send in the dogs of the drug war to shut it down.
“We do need to clean up this system and make sure we’re beyond reproach for how well we’re regulating marijuana,” Andrew Freedman, Colorado’s Director of Marijuana Coordination, told the Associated Press.
Although the Obama Administration has taken a hands off approach to legal marijuana, giving state’s like Colorado the benefit of experimenting with a taxed and regulated pot market as long as certain rules are followed, there have been some complaints over the past couple of years that the state worries could attract unwanted attention when the Trump Administration takes over the nation in early 2017.
Federal officials have already cautioned those in charge of keeping the Colorado cannabis industry from spiraling out of control that cases of interstate drug trafficking and evidence of a black market operating comfortably in the shadows of legalization is reason for panic.
However, Hickenlooper’s plan does not appear to be that destructive to the sanctity of Colorado cultivation. Reports indicate that he is seeking a 12-plant limit in private residences, which is already the imposed restriction in some of the state’s larger jurisdictions.
Yet, some cannabis advocates argue the proposed changes are only being used as an excuse to drive the entire market to a “taxed model” – something for which the medical marijuana sector remains adamantly opposed.