Weird Colorado news, the weed edition!

by DGO Web Administrator

Delta-8 is a no-deal in Colorado If you’re looking for delta-8 cannabis products in Colorado, you may have to expand your search to another state. And good luck finding one. Following in the footsteps of many other states in the nation, Colorado officially banned the sale of delta-8 products in the state.

The ban hammer came down on delta-8 in mid-May, when the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division sent out a letter to marijuana business owners to make it clear that the modified or synthetic versions of THC that are derived from industrial hemp — which include delta-8 — are not allowed to line the shelves of dispensaries in Colorado.

Delta-8 has grown increasingly popular with consumers, who flock to these products for their relaxing, less-intoxicating effects. Unlike other products on dispensary shelves, though, delta-8 isn’t derived from the cannabis sativa plant. Delta-8 naturally occurs in the cannabis plant, but in minute amounts that make it cost-prohibitive to derive from the plant.

In order to make delta-8 THC more accessible and more abundant, companies have been synthesizing the cannabinoid from crude CBD oil that’s derived from the hemp plant instead.

While perhaps more cost effective, turning CBD oil into delta-8 means that it’s technically a synthetic form of THC — and that’s a big no-no for Colorado MED.

This move is a big blow for both delta-8 businesses and consumers in Colorado, who can no longer access delta-8 at CBD shops or other outlets that carried it. And, now that it’s banned from lining the shelves of the dispensaries, it’s time to wave goodbye to delta-8 in our state. Guess it’s good that we have a legal market here.

That may not be the case for everyone eles, though. Several states, including Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island and Utah, have all banned delta-8 products, and not all of them have legal cannabis markets. So, guess it could be worse, eh?

Cha-cha-cha-cha-cha-changes (are coming to marijuana regulations)The cannabis rules are changing in Colorado. (And that’s precisely why we keep humming the cha-cha-cha-changes song in our heads. It’s definitely not just an earworm.)

In late May, Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill into law to increase the amount of cannabis that adults can legally possess in our state. The new rules increase the legal possession limits from one ounce to two ounces.

And, that’s not the only change that was made to the cannabis laws, either. The new rules also streamline the process of sealing records for Coloradans with past cannabis possession conviction records and expands the record-sealing eligibility rules to include additional cannabis offenses.

That’s great news for those with prior cannabis convictions, who will effectively have their records wiped clean if they qualify.

These new rules are part of the HB21-1090 bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Alex Valdez and Sen. Julie Gonzales. The bill eliminates the offense for possession of up to two ounces of cannabis, which, in turn, increases the possession limit from one ounce to two ounces for adults 21 and older.

The HB21-1090 bill also added cannabis possession to the offenses for which past convictions can be sealed without notification of the prosecuting district attorney who handled the case. This removes a laborious step from the record-sealing process and expedites the time in which it can be done. It also lowers the cost of sealing records for those who qualify.

In general, this new law is most likely to help those who in have been convicted of possession offenses prior to legalization. That said, the bill also extends eligibility for record-sealing to include those who were previously convicted of a class 3 felony for marijuana cultivation.

“Amendment 64 was drafted at a time when no jurisdiction in the world had ever legalized cannabis for non-medical use. Many voters were still on the fence about whether to allow possession of one gram, let alone one or two ounces. We knew there would eventually be an appetite for increasing the possession limit, so Amendment 64 was deliberately crafted to allow for it. These reforms are just the latest sign that most Coloradans and their elected representatives are satisfied with the state’s decision to end prohibition and regulate cannabis for adult use. We applaud our state lawmakers and the governor for their continued leadership on cannabis policy,” Mason Tvert, a lead proponent of Amendment 64 and co-director of the 2012 initiative campaign, said in a statement.

Jordan Wellington, who also played a key role in drafting and lobbying for HB21-1090, also noted the benefits of the bill, stating: “Even though cannabis is now legal for adults in Colorado, the collateral consequences of past convictions continue to haunt a lot of people. This legislation removes some of the structural impediments to efficiently sealing the records of prior cannabis convictions. Making the process less time-consuming and less expensive will make it more accessible to the people most likely to have been impacted by cannabis prohibition laws. It also encourages more effective and efficient allocation of Colorado’s sparse judicial resources.”

Bye-bye, sweet COVID rulesIf you’ve been living for the new COVID cannabis rules, prepare yourself for some impending heartbreak. Two perks of the pandemic: medical marijuana telemedicine and online dispensary payments, will soon be no more.

These two marijuana rules were temporary and were initially enacted through executive orders issued by Governor Jared Polis in March 2020. The rule changes were enacted initially to help with social distancing at dispensaries, and to help medical marijuana patients avoid the germ havens at the doctor’s offices in their areas. But, the rules, while glorious, were also temporary, and it looks like they won’t be sticking around post-pandemic.

That’s not for lack of trying, though. Colorado state representative Matt Gray tried to make the temporary rules permanent when he of this introduced House Bill 1058 yearin February.

“This has been the law for quite a while now,” Gray told fellow lawmakers prior to the May 20 vote. “We have not seen the sky fall.”

Unfortunately, Gray’s enthusiasm wasn’t enough to push forward the bill, which was shot down by an indefinite postponement with a 7-4 vote.

What that means is that the temporary rules will no longer be in place for either online payments or medical marijuana telemedicine in the near future.

While telemedicine is allowed for a wide range issues in Colorado, medical marijuana isn’t one of them. And neither is paying online for cannabis. You can pre-order cannabis in Colorado through an online platform, but paying for it online is banned under current law — at least for recreational customers, anyway. Medical patients are allowed to pay for their orders online, and that will continue post-pandemic.

One major hurdle with Gray’s bill was that it inadvertently kicked off an ongoing debate over the potency of commercial cannabis products and the effect they have on children.

“This bill has been caught up in a wave of more controversy that has to do with things that are not in this bill,” Gray told the committee.

This controversy kicked off yet another proposed change to cannabis rules — one that would require medical patients between 18 and 20 years old to meet more laborious standards of qualification to get access to medical marijuana.

Cannabis cash cowSay hello to Colorado’s cash cow, cannabis.

During the first quarter of 2021, Colorado’s marijuana sales met a huge milestone. It eclipsed the half-billion dollar mark, according to the state Department of Revenue (DOR).

That accounts for over $560 million in marijuana sales between January and March — which, you know, is a huge amount of weed. And, marijuana sales reached $207 million in the month of March alone. Y’all sure do smoke a lot of that sticky-icky, eh?

That said, the $560 million in sales is just a drop in the bucket compared to the grand total for cannabis sales in Colorado since legalization took hold. In total, more than $10.5 billion in marijuana has been sold in Colorado since the plant was legalized back in 2014. Again, y’all smoke a lot of weed. A shocking, impressive, lung-busting amount of weed.

And, all that weed translates to a lot of money in taxes. More than $1.7 billion in tax revenue has gone toward public schools, infrastructure projects, and local government programs in Colorado. Yay, weed tax!

Colorado law requires 71% of the total tax revenue to go into the marijuana tax cash fund, which helps to fund health care, health education, substance abuse prevention, treatment programs, and law enforcement in the state. The remaining 29% is divided between the state public school fund and the general fund, with schools receiving a little over 12% of the total, and the general fund receiving about 15%.

Not too bad for some taxes on a little plant, eh? Not too bad at all.


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