Monitoring Colorado’s marijuana and hemp payments in 2021

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We are less than a month into the restarted 2021 legislature and there are stories of an impending marijuana measure that could limit the effectiveness of commercial pot products.

But these aren’t the only possible cannabis controversies in the Capitol. We’ve already rolled out a handful of major marijuana bills, including efforts to expand access to medical marijuana for child patients at school, a proposal to raise the state marijuana ownership limit, tweaks to the new marijuana delivery program, and a successful bill will 4 Contribute millions of dollars to social justice in the pot industry.

Here is a breakdown of the eight marijuana and hemp-related bills currently pending consideration at the Colorado General Assembly in 2021 (the summaries are from the law; they are subject to change) and their current status.

HB 1058: Promoting Social Distancing in the Marijuana Industry

Main Sponsors: Representative Matt Gray (D-District 33), Senator Julie Gonzales (D-District 34)

Summary: Under current law, a doctor must perform a personal physical exam on a person before certifying that the person would benefit from medical marijuana. The bill allows a physician to provide, advise, and perform appropriate personal physical exams in person or by telephone or video conference in order to establish a trusted physician-patient relationship with a patient seeking a medical marijuana card.

Marijuana retail stores are now prohibited from selling retail marijuana and retail marijuana products online and to anyone who is not physically present on the licensed premises of the marijuana retail store. The bill would lift that ban.

Status: Waiting for House Business Affairs & Labor Committee hearing; No appointment planned.

HB 1090: Offenses against marijuana

Main sponsors: Representative Alex Valdez (D-District 5)

Summary: The bill eliminates the marijuana possession offense for possessing 2 ounces of marijuana or less.

The bill provides for the court to seal a conviction record without the prosecutor being able to appeal an otherwise unsealed offense of marijuana possession if the person submits evidence to the court that the person has not been convicted of a crime has been given final disposition of all criminal proceedings or discharge from custody, whichever is later.

The bill allows a person convicted of a Class 3 marijuana cultivation violation to file an application for their sentencing record to be sealed.

Status: Changed invoice passed house; Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for April 22nd.

HB 1159: Restrictions on the regulated supply of marijuana

Main sponsors: Representative Marc Snyder (D-District 18)

Summary: Under applicable law, a marijuana retail store licensee may have a marijuana delivery permit attached to their store license. The invoice stipulates that the store will be open at least 5 days a week and at least 5 hours a day in order to have a delivery permit. The invoice limits delivery sales only to retail marijuana, retail marijuana products, or branded items for sale in the retail marijuana store, and requires that prices match the in-store price. The bill prohibits an online platform from maintaining prepaid accounts for a licensed retail marijuana store.

The invoice waives the license fee for a van applicant who is a social equity licensee.

The bill bans a medical or retail marijuana company from supplying regulated marijuana.

Status: House Business Affairs & Labor Committee on April 8th.

HB 1178: Correcting Errors in the Colorado Marijuana Code

Main Sponsors: Representative Andres Pico (R District 16), Representative Donald Valdez (D District 62), Senator Rob Woodward (R District 15), Senator Rachel Zenzinger (D District 19)

Summary: The bill corrects quotations in the Marijuana Code, as well as grammar and wording issues.

Status: Passed House unchanged; Assigned to the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

HB 1204: Unemployment Insurance Marijuana Licensed Company

Main sponsors: Representative Marc Snyder (D-District 18), Senator Chris Holbert (R-District 30), Senator Joann Ginal (D-District 14)

Summary: Under current law, a joint paymaster is not a single employment unit to account for the services provided by another employment unit that are subject to a single or joint payroll accounting. The invoice is an exception for an employee leasing company or other employing entity owned by one or more individuals who hold a medical or retail license for marijuana and who own at least 50% of an entity that has an interest in the employee leasing company or other employing entity Services. The employee leasing company or any other employing entity is not considered a joint paymaster for the purposes of the Colorado Employment Security Act.

Status: Passed House unchanged; Assigned to the Senate Committee on Economics, Labor, and Technology.

HB 1216: Marijuana Licensee Ability to Change Name

Main Sponsors: Representative Alex Valdez (D District 5), Representative Kevin Van Winkle (R District 43), Senator Julie Gonzales (D District 34)

Summary: The bill allows a licensee of a medical marijuana grow facility to obtain and change the name of marijuana from retail to medicine, and a licensee of a marijuana product manufacturer to obtain and change a marijuana product from retail to medicine to change.

The bill clarifies that transferring and changing the name of marijuana from retail to medical will not be eligible for reimbursement of any excise duty on retail marijuana that was levied or paid prior to the transfer and change of name.

Status: House floor work April 5th.

SB 56: Expansion of cannabis-based medicine in schools

Main Sponsors: Senator Chris Holbert (R District 30), Senator Julie Gonzales (D District 34), Representative Kevin Van Winkle (R District 43), Representative Matt Gray (D District 33)

Summary: Under current law, school districts must allow primary carers to possess and administer cannabis-based medicine on school premises, and school principals are given the discretion to manage the storage, possession and administration of cannabis-based medicine on school premises the school admit staff. The bill removes discretion from school principals and calls on school authorities to implement policies that allow the storage, possession and administration of cannabis-based drugs by school staff. The bill allows school staff to voluntarily own, manage, or support cannabis-based drugs, and protect those who do so from retaliation. The bill obliges school principals to prepare a written treatment plan for the administration of cannabis-based medicine, and school authorities to issue guidelines for effective administration.

The law provides disciplinary protection to nurses who administer cannabis-based medicine to students in school. The bill requires schools to treat recommendations for cannabis-based drugs like prescriptions.

Status: Amended bill passed by Senate; Waiting for the House Appropriations Committee hearing.

SB 111: Program to Support Marijuana Entrepreneurs

Main Sponsors: Senator Dominick Moreno (D District 21), Senator Julie Gonzales (D District 34), Representative Leslie Herod (D District 8), Representative David Ortiz (D District 38)

Summary: The bill creates a program in the Bureau of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) to support entrepreneurs in the marijuana industry that primarily supports social justice licensees, such as the term used in the Colorado Marijuana Code is used. The program consists of:

  • Loans to social equity licensees for seed capital and ongoing business expenses;
  • Grants to social justice licensees to support innovation and job creation and to organizations that support marijuana companies to support innovation and job creation for social justice licensees; and
  • Technical assistance to marijuana entrepreneurs, prioritizing social equity licensees who have received a loan or grant under the program.

OEDIT is entitled to manage the program itself or directly through one or more partner units. In consultation with other relevant government agencies, industry experts and other stakeholders, OEDIT must establish guidelines that set out the parameters and eligibility for the program. OEDIT must consult with the Colorado Economic Development Commission regarding the administration of the program. OEDIT is also required to submit a report to the governor and legislative committees by July 1, 2022 and 2023, detailing program spending.

The program will initially be funded with a transfer of USD 4 million from the Marihuana Tax Cash Fund to the newly created Marihuana Entrepreneur Fund, from which the money will be continuously used to OEDIT for the program. OEDIT can use part of this money for the administration costs of the program. From the 2022-23 financial year, the General Assembly can provide additional funds from the Marihuana Tax Cash Fund for the Marihuana Entrepreneur Fund.

Status: Revised bill passed by House and Senate; signed by the governor.

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Thomas Mitchell has been writing about everything cannabis-related for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate, and general news en route to publications like the Republic of Arizona, Inman, and Fox Sports. He is currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.

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