Many perceive Colorado as a marijuana haven. Since it was one of the first states to legalize the consumption of cannabis, it gets a reputation for being easygoing when it comes to legalization. But marijuana laws are constantly being tuned and updated, and this year is no exception. During the most recent legislative session, the Colorado General Assembly passed new measures related to the $1.9 billion industry. As most measures have recently gone into effect, here’s what you need to know and how the new measures can affect you.
Passed and in Effect
Three cannabis-related measures have passed and will be in effect this January. The first, House Bill 1317, enacts tighter regulations on both retail and medical marijuana concentrates. The suggestion to restrict the amount per purchase comes after research suggests that high-THC products could harm young people’s developing brains.
The second measure to pass is Senate Bill 56 which focuses on the use of cannabis to treat a range of illnesses in school-age children. The state Legislature and the Colorado Department of Education have allowed for students to take non-smokable forms of marijuana as medicine. However, the specifics of what is allowed, or what’s even legal, haven’t been clear. The Senate-passed SB 56 requires school boards to create policies that allow for possession, proper storage and administration of medical cannabis by school employees. Additionally, it will protect nurses and staff who administer cannabis medically from being prosecuted.
Finally, there is House Bill 1301 which makes future plans for Colorado in case the U.S. government ever passes federal legalization. If that were the case, HB 1301 would task the Marijuana Enforcement Division, Colorado’s licensing authority, with reviewing rules and tax laws in order to help local cultivators succeed in future interstate cannabis commerce.
The New Weed Limit
Currently, HB 1317 would be the new law that impacts the majority of consumers on a daily basis. With HB 1317 in effect, people older than 21 can only acquire eight grams of retail or medical marijuana per business day. Previously, they could purchase up to 40 grams of concentrates.
Consumers between the age of 18 and 20, who must have a medical marijuana card, can only buy two grams per day. Additionally, they will require two physicians from different practices to approve their medical cards.
Mental Health Comes First
Due to a correlation between high-THC cannabis and mental health issues, HB 1317 requires a mental health screening for patients younger than 21. A doctor will have to complete a mental health exam along with a physical exam before certifying medical cannabis for younger patients.
Additional to the required screenings, the new law also requires doctors to provide a daily authorized amount, instructions for use and a recommended product.
Closing the Loop
Even though there was already a limit on how much one could buy in one day, dispensaries always encountered something called “looping.” This is when customers go to every dispensary on the block and buy the maximum amount allowed of medical marijuana at each shop. HB 1317 requires dispensaries that sell medical marijuana to use Mertc, a software system already in use to track inventory, to check if customers have already purchased the daily limit.
Learn more about Colorado’s new marijuana laws here.