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Recreational Marijuana Hurdles in Colorado

By: Gregory D. Thomas, Esq.

Despite the many positive advances recreational marijuana has made since Amendment 64 was passed in 2012, the following represent several significant legal and political hurdles that stand in its way, according to the Marijuana Business Daily:

1) While marijuana (recreational and medical) has grown exponentially into a one billion dollar industry in Colorado, it has done so in spite of the fact that three out of four municipalities and over 70% of the counties in the State have banned recreational marijuana businesses altogether. At some point, industry expansion will depend on the opening up of additional markets throughout Colorado. And in those jurisdictions where marijuana isn’t banned, new rules make it more and more difficult for existing marijuana companies to grow and implement meaningful business planning.

2) A proposed statewide ballot initiative is in the works that would limit the potency of THC in all marijuana products. Whether the measure makes the November 2016 ballot remains to be seen, but the proposed limits could eliminate all concentrates and drastically reduce edibles. We should know by early August 2016 whether the initiative makes the ballot.

3) Another marijuana-limiting ballot measure is being proposed in Pueblo County. This measure would prohibit the issuance of new recreational marijuana licenses after November 8, 2016 and ban all recreational marijuana businesses after October 31, 2017. In other words, there would be no recreational marijuana operations of any kind operating in Pueblo County after October 31, 2017 if this ballot measure passes. The success of the ballot measure could resonate to other counties where recreational marijuana is presently allowed.

At first blush, it would seem marijuana is a thriving industry in Colorado with endless possibilities for growth. However, only a small minority of jurisdictions in the State allow marijuana businesses within their limits. Also, proposed ballot measures could not only further reduce the number of locations banning marijuana, but could also affect the potency of THC in marijuana thereby reducing the availability of certain types of marijuana products.

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