Colorado Legislature Passes First Hurdle for Equitable Marijuana Regulations

Press Release April 11, 2019
Media Contact

Art Way 720-579-1265
Jag Davies 212-613-8035

Denver – Tuesday night the Senate Finance Committee approved the recreational marijuana sunset proposal, and, in doing so, passed amendment L.005. Under the amendment, a new set of licenses will be created for an accelerator program allowing people to cultivate and create marijuana-infused products at the facility of a current marijuana cultivator or infused product manufacturer. The new licensees will retain all intellectual property rights and may join other accelerator licensees in a co-op facility and become self-sufficient. Amendment L.005 also ensures that a prior marijuana-related felony cannot be the sole basis of an accelerator license denial. 

The Drug Policy Alliance, alongside the Cannabis Equity Coalition, spearheaded these changes and other recommendations within SB19-224. The bill essentially reflects the analyses and recommendations from the mandated Department of Regulatory Agencies sunset review of the Colorado retail marijuana code released in October 2018.
“This move toward improving equity in the regulated marijuana sector is long overdue and yet right on time,” said Art Way, Colorado State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Colorado urgently needs to move away from a regulatory framework that doesn’t facilitate the involvement of people who were worst harmed by marijuana prohibition.” 

In order to assess how to chart a more equitable future, SB19-224 also includes recommendations to compile demographic data on the marijuana industry. This is in conjunction with mandated data collection regarding licensing denials and suspensions meant to ensure a fair playing field in Colorado. The bill also allows those with felonies not specific to marijuana to apply within three years opposed to the previous ten year waiting period. If successful during the rest of the legislative session, the Drug Policy Alliance and the Cannabis Equity Coalition are committed to staying involved in the subsequent rulemaking process while continuing to advocate for equity within the industry on the municipal level.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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