Last month, Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 to the state constitution, essentially legalizing marijuana in Colorado. (For more on this, see Reason’s work here, here and here.) Several weeks later, Governor John Hickenlooper announced the formation of a task force to hammer out specific implementation concerns.Yesterday, the 24-member task force (pictured on the right) met for the first time in an unassuming room at the Department of Revenue’s office building in Golden, Colorado.
After introductory remarks, Jack Finlaw, the Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel and co-chair of the marijuana task force, framed the task force’s duties and set the tone for the meeting saying:
“Pursuant to the Governor’s executive order establishing the task force, he’s asked that we have a real focus on identifying the legal and the policy issues that are necessary to tackle, to implement Amendment 64. We’re not here to revisit the merits of Amendment 64, we’re not here to have a discussion as to whether or not legalizing marijuana in general, or if legalizing marijuana in the way Amendment 64 has done, is the right thing to do. We know it was put on the ballot, the voters approved it, so our job is to find ways to efficiently and effectively implement it.”
Barbara Brohl, task force co-chair and executive director of Colorado’s Department of Revenue, explained the important administrative and technical matters that lay ahead. Brohl continued by outlining the five working groups that will be responsible for assisting the task force in its duties. The five working groups (with examples of their likely discussion topics) are listed below:
- Regulatory Framework
- Legislative construction (like medical marijuana, liquor or a hybrid?)
- Blending medical marijuana and recreational marijuana
- Rule making processes
- Criminal Law Issues
- Required changes to existing criminal statutes and impact on prosecution
- Defining impairment, specifically in the case of motor vehicle use
- Traffic stops and probable cause
- Local Authority and Control
- Role of local government in the regulatory model
- Local government’s authority to opt out
- Clarifying mandates and sources of revenue for state and local bodies
- Tax Funding and Civil Law Issues
- Collection and revenue generation, and constitutionality of the tax mandate
- Fee structure to support regulatory enforcement
- Impact on employment in the public and private sector
- Consumer Safety and Social Issues
- Substance abuse and prevention, including outreach to minors
- Restrictions on advertising
- Products standards and labeling
Task force members went on to discuss and submit a range of additional concerns they have, with the assistance of a facilitator brought in for the meeting. Finally, there was a period for public comment giving an opportunity for laypeople, cannabis industry participants and medical marijuana patients, among others, to speak.
Click here for a full-length audio recording of the meeting, approximately two hours and ten minutes.
Follow Harris Kenny on Twitter @harriskenny.