Colorado Legislature Passes First Bills in History to Establish a Regulated Marijuana Market for Adults
DENVER – The Colorado state legislature passed the first bills in history Wednesday to establish a regulated marijuana market for adults. Representatives of the Amendment 64 campaign will discuss the landmark achievement and next steps at a news conference Thursday at 10 a.m. in the Creswell Mansion Office Building (1244 Grant St., Denver).
"The adoption of these bills is a truly historic milestone and brings Colorado one step closer to establishing the world's first legal, regulated, and taxed marijuana market for adults," said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, who served as an official proponent and campaign co-director for the ballot measure approved by Colorado voters in November.
"Facilitating the shift from the failed policy of prohibition to a more sensible system of regulation has been a huge undertaking, and we applaud the many task force members, legislators, and others who have helped effect this change," Tvert said. "We are confident that this legislation will allow state and local officials to implement a comprehensive, robust, and sufficiently funded regulatory system that will effectively control marijuana in Colorado."
HB 1317 and SB 283 create the framework for regulations governing marijuana retail sales, cultivation, and product manufacturing. Under the provisions of Amendment 64, the Colorado Dept. of Revenue has until July 1 to develop the specific regulations necessary for implementation.
HB 1318 enacts a 10% special sales tax on retail sales of non-medical marijuana (in addition to standard state and local sales taxes) and a 15% excise tax on wholesale sales of non-medical marijuana. Voters must approve the new taxes this November in accordance with Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). More than 75% of Colorado voters would support such a proposal, according to a survey conducted last month by Public Policy Polling.
The bills were adopted in accordance with Amendment 64, a ballot measure approved by 55% of Colorado voters last November. Gov. Hickenlooper issued executive orders in December officially making possession and home-growing of limited amounts of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older and establishing the Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force to provide legislators and regulators with recommendations for establishing a regulated marijuana market for adults. The two-month task force process culminated at the end of February and was followed by an additional two-month legislative process. Amendment 64 also directed the legislature to create regulations for the cultivation, processing, and distribution of industrial hemp. A bill initiating the development of a regulatory framework for industrial hemp, SB 241, was adopted Monday.