State task force recommends excise tax, labeling rules
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A task force says its final recommendations for implementing Amendment 64, which legalizes adult marijuana use in Colorado, lays the groundwork for a robust state regulatory framework that will ensure adequate oversight, consumer protection and prevention and treatment programs for young people.
Key recommendations include what the task force is calling “vertical integration,” meaning that cultivation, processing and manufacturing, and retail sales must be under common ownership.
The task force also recommended that all types of marijuana sold from adult use cannabis retail facilities should be in child- proof packaging and have warning labels that detail tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) potency and list all pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and solvents used in cultivation or processing.
Other recommendations include:
- During the first year of licensing, only entities with valid medical marijuana licenses should be able to obtain licenses to grow, process and sell adult-use cannabis.
- A new Marijuana Enforcement Division in the Department of Revenue would be funded by General Fund revenue for the next five years and would provide the necessary regulatory oversight of all marijuana industries in Colorado.
- Refer a ballot initiative to voters this November for a 15 percent excise tax, with the first $40 million of excise tax proceeds going to the state’s school construction fund as outlined in Amendment 64, and a “marijuana sales tax” to create funding sources to cover the costs of regulating the industry, implementing consumer safeguards and establishing youth prevention and treatment programs.
- Only Colorado residents should be allowed to hold licenses to grow, process and sell adult-use cannabis. But sales to both residents and visitors to the state should be permitted, with stricter quantity limits for visitors.
“The … recommendations will now need to be perfected through the legislative process and rulemakings by various state agencies,” said task force co-chair Jack Finlaw, Governor John Hickenlooper’s chief legal counsel.
“This was ground-breaking work and the task force process went very well,” said co-chair Barbara Brohl, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue. “Task force members represented differing viewpoints, they addressed all issues in a well-thought-out manner and worked hard to develop sound solutions,” Brohl said.
“The commendable work by the task force sets the stage for sensible regulation and enforcement in Colorado,” Gov. Hickenlooper said in a statement. “We want to thank Barbara Brohl and Jack Finlaw for their leadership on the task force. The entire group carefully and thoughtfully worked through dozens of issues and ideas. We look forward to now working with the General Assembly to follow through on the task force’s recommendations.”
The complete report is available on the Amendment 64 Web site: www.Colorado.gov/revenue/amendment64.
The General Assembly must adopt implementing legislation before it adjourns in May and the Department of Revenue must adopt regulations for the marijuana industry by July 1, 2013. By October 1, 2013, the department must begin accepting, reviewing and processing license applications for growers, producers and retailers and must begin issuing licenses January 1, 2014.