Pubdate: Thu, 23 Jul 2015
Source: Boulder Weekly (CO)
Column: Weed Between the Lines
Copyright: 2015 Boulder Weekly
Author: Leland Rucker


In part one of my interview with Rep. Jonathan Singer last week, he 
talked about changes the Colorado legislature made to Amendment 64 
during the 2015 session. He figures lawmakers will be revising 
cannabis laws for a long time to come.

"These are some of the million tweaks we will be making because we 
are a growing society," said Singer, the representative for House 
District 11. "I ran three liquor bills this year. We've had legal 
liquor in the state for almost a century, and we're still perfecting it."

One of the major issues is labeling for edibles. It's a difficult 
issue. Nobody wants children mistaking marijuana for candy, but there 
are some products that can't be marked individually. "The Marijuana 
Enforcement Division is still chewing that one over, so to speak. The 
bottom line is they have to come out with rules and regulations at 
the end of the year," Singer said.

He said there's a zero-sum game being played on both ends of the 
issue so far. "One side is saying, 'make sure it's easily 
identifiable,' and the other side is saying, 'why?' There have been 
no serious suggestions from the marijuana industry brought to the 
table. I think you'll see that change in the next couple of months. I 
think you'll see that the industry will pool its resources to make 
this happen."

I reminded him that during the edibles working group sessions he said 
he wanted to be able to distinguish a cannabis cookie as easily as an 
Oreo. "With the items that are easy to mark, that will happen," he 
said. "With things like granola, which is not attractive to kids 
anyway, or salad dressing, as long as the packaging is sufficient, we 
can walk away from the marijuana/Oreo analogy that I brought up."

Some states have banned them, but Singer doesn't think edibles 
products, a growing segment of the market, have turned out to be the 
boogieman that the other side made it out to be. "Even customers are 
asking for lower doses and a lot of clarity on exactly what they're getting."

And, he said, lawmakers will be looking at other issues related to 
labeling. "We'll be trying to make sure that contaminants and molds 
and pesticides are regulated so people will know what they're putting 
in their bodies, and that the potency in recreational products and 
medical products is consistent and accurate."

Among the things the legislature will be looking at more closely is 
the criminal justice component. "The primary victims of the failed 
drug war have not been the biggest winners in this new marijuana 
process that we have here. The fact is that if you have drug crimes 
on your record, you are severely limited from participating in the 
legal industry. You're almost forced to stay illegal and contribute 
to the black market."

Most cannabis businesses still don't have access to banking, and 
everyone save the Federal Reserve seems to be together on ending 
this. "Everyone's motivated in the same direction, everyone wants the 
same outcome, and this is something that we're waiting for the 
Federal Reserve and the federal government to weigh in on," Singer said.

The only progress came when the state found it could create its own 
credit union model without national insurance. "It gives the NCUA up 
to two years to make those decisions and rules about its 
dissolution," Singer said, adding that they're waiting to hear from 
the Federal Reserve. "Basically, this should be the easiest win for everybody."

He said that lawmakers are still basically working together on 
cannabis-law tweaks. "It's still a new issue. We're in a situation 
where we largely depend on each other for information," he said. "The 
battle lines aren't drawn the same way they used to be, like you see 
with the death penalty or abortion.

"I think you'll see it's like the fights you sometimes see, for 
example, in the liquor industry and the restaurant industry. Those 
kind of turf battles play out in every sector. You see it between 
dental hygienists and dentists, or nurse practitioners and R.N.s not 
necessarily seeing eye to eye," Singer said. "The goal is usually 
compromise for all kinds of good reasons, but it's trying to do the 
right thing while pleasing everybody at the same time, which is a 
tough needle to thread."

You can hear Leland discuss his most recent column and Colorado 
cannabis issues each Thursday morning on KGNU.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom