As we see more states legalizing recreational marijuana, fifteen plus the district of Columbia to date, anti-marijuana groups have changed their strategy. No longer fighting the legalization battle, these groups are putting their money and resources into industry regulations. There have not been public statements from any of these groups regarding Colorado, but you can bet they are aware the discussions by state Colorado Representative Yadira Caraveo. State Rep. Yadira Caraveo is proposing to introduce a bill that would ban any form of legal marijuana, recreational or medical, testing over 15 percent THC. But the proposed Bill includes a lot more than limiting the percentage THC.
A draft of the legislation was recently leaked and here are some of the proposed changes in Medical and Recreational marijuana for Colorado.
- For medical marijuana patients, the doctor would provide the patient with a prescription like how current medical prescriptions are handled today. A prescription is written and signed by the doctor prescribing a potency level, dosage, quantity, directions of use, and the number of refills.
- A limit on the potency of edibles. A standardized marijuana serving size amount for edible retail marijuana products that does not contain more than ten 22 milligrams of active THC.
- Under current law, a medical marijuana store can sell medical marijuana using an automated machine. The bill repeals that authority.
- Under current law, marijuana businesses can compensate their employees with performance-based incentives, including sales-based performance-based incentives. The bill repeals the authority for sales-based performance-based incentives.
- The bill prohibits a licensed medical marijuana store or retail marijuana store from selling:
- Any medical or retail marijuana, medical or retail marijuana concentrate, or medical or retail marijuana product that contains butane, propane, or a known human carcinogen.
- Medical or retail marijuana shatter, medical or retail marijuana wax, medical or retail marijuana anal suppositories, or medical or retail marijuana vaginal suppositories.
- A vaping device or inhaler device capable of use with medical or retail marijuana and flavored liquid containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
- Medical or retail marijuana, medical or retail marijuana concentrate, or a medical or retail marijuana product that contains greater than 15% THC.
- Medical or retail marijuana, medical or retail marijuana concentrate, or a medical or retail marijuana product that uses a nationally recognized brand name or trade name of a non-regulated marijuana item.
- Medical or retail marijuana store shall not sell, advertise through billboards or roadside signage, or utilize social media influencers who appeal to minors to market its store.
- In addition to the labeling provisions required by rule, all medical marijuana, medical marijuana concentrate, and medical marijuana products sold by a medical marijuana store must include a label that lists all ingredients, including all active constituents, inert ingredients, preservatives, pesticides, and other compounds. All medical marijuana, medical marijuana concentrate, and medical marijuana products sold by a medical marijuana store must be formulated and sold in clearly discernable, divisible, and distinct standardized dosage units. The standard dosage for a liquid medical marijuana product is 5 milligrams of THC; for all other medical marijuana, medical marijuana concentrate, and medical marijuana products the standard dosage is 10 milligrams of THC. This provision also applies to retail marijuana.
- The bill requires the coroner in each case of a suicide, overdose death, or accidental death to order a toxicology screen. The coroner shall report the disaggregated results of the toxicology screen to the department of public health and environment within 30 days of receiving the results
in a form approved by the department. The department then produces an annual report of the disaggregated information beginning January 2, 2022, and annually each year thereafter.
- When a patient is admitted to an emergency department of a hospital or a freestanding emergency department with symptoms of a psychotic episode, suicidality, depression, or cannabis hyperemesis, the bill requires the patient’s physician to order a toxicology screen. The Emergency department or freestanding emergency department shall report the disaggregated results of the toxicology screen to the department of public health and environment within 30 days of receiving the results in a form approved by the department. The department then produces an annual report of the disaggregated information beginning January 2, 2022, and annually each year thereafter. The report can be produced in conjunction with the coroner’s toxicology report.
As you can see, the proposed bill contains a lot more issues, some very puzzling, besides the THC potency concern. Since the proposed bill was leaked, State Rep. Yadira Caraveo has admitted that there are parts of the bill that are not important as others. Her main concern appears to be the potency issue and the access that children may have to the higher THC content of cannabis concentrates. She appears be willing to move on the 15% number, but what that higher THC percentage may be, is still the question.
This is not the first time the potency issue has been discussed by the Colorado Legislature and it will not be the last. Other states where cannabis has been legalized are having these same discussions. It is very unlikely we will see any legislation regarding the potency issue in this legislative session. But this issue will not be going away real soon.