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Shawn Coleman

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Responsible Vendor Bill falls to end of session politics

DENVER (May 2, 2012) - SB12-154 was postponed indefinitely in House Committee on State, Veterans and Military Affairs by its House sponsor, Rep. Crisanta Duran, today, effectively killing the bill this session despite a broad coalition of support including the Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA), Association of Cannabis Trades for Colorado (ACT4CO), the Medical Marijuana Business Alliance (MMBA), Sensible Colorado and the Association of County Sheriffs, whose common goal is a carefully regulated, well informed industry.

The responsible vendor program for medical cannabis businesses would have established a voluntary program of state-approved courses for medical cannabis professionals. The program was modeled on similar enhanced training programs in other industries, including real estate and hospitality.

The industry continued to support the bill despite a Senate amendment that severely damaged the bill by prohibiting former regulators and industry professionals -- those who best understand the complex and dynamic regulations these small business owners face -- from creating the course curriculum.

But what killed the bill was an amendment that would have made the program mandatory. Rep. Duran and the industry coalition supporting the bill agreed this violated the spirit of what was a carefully crafted voluntary program.

"We cannot continue to support legislation that would require small business owners to hire expensive outside consultants who would have less knowledge than the business owners themselves," said Shawn Coleman, executive director of the Cannabis Business Alliance.

"Business owners and employees in the cannabis industry need to be educated about the laws and rules regulating the industry,” said Nick King, president of ACT4CO. “But participation in the program should be wholly voluntary and performed by individuals and organizations fully conversant with how the industry operates as well as knowledgeable about the regulations governing the industry. Patient advocate and Sensible Colorado Deputy Director Josh Kappel noted, “Any legislation that encourages responsible vendors is good for our communities and the patients who rely on those vendors for their medicine.”

The Colorado medical cannabis professionals who supported this legislation remain united in continuing to comply with our state laws, serving only qualified patients and being excellent members of the communities we serve. We will move forward with our collaborative work on best practices for business owners and patients and will continue our dialogue with the broader community on this valuable alternative to dangerous pharmaceutical treatments.

About the Cannabis Business Alliance
The Cannabis Business Alliance is a member based non-profit industry trade group for Colorado medical cannabis professionals focused on policy advocacy and best practices.
http://cannabisalliance.org/

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