In nearly 24 hours we will know the outcome of Amendment 64, Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado. We want to let all business owners know what is in the immediate future, if it passes and if it doesn’t.
Should the measure pass, very little will happen immediately. While we can’t predict what the Feds might do, the governor will certify the results of the election as early as 30 days and as late as 60 days after election day. Upon that certification, Amendment 64 will be law.
That does not mean that there will be an immediate opening of new retail stores across the state. It does mean that individuals, ages 21 and over, can start growing up to six plants for personal consumption. It remains illegal for individuals to sell marijuana. Whether or not it can be traded will be a question answered by the legislature.
Retail growing and distribution of marijuana by commercial entities will be contemplated by the legislature. Implementing legislation will likely run in the 2013 General Assembly that will create the regulatory frame-work for the growing and retail distribution of marijuana. It has until July 1, 2014 to do so.
*It is important to note that retail sales will NOT be taxed unless the voters decide to tax the sales in an election that will likely occur in November of 2013. The wording ballot measure and amount of tax will be determined by the legislature.
Should the legislature pass a bill regulating marijuana, the governor has the option to veto the legislation. Even if he vetoes, a department (not named in the Amendment) must have rules in place for the issuance of licenses by July 1, 2013. Though no licenses will be issued until 2014. The rules simply must be in place.
Regardless of the actions of the state legislature and the governor and his agencies, local governments have the right to ban the cultivation and sale of marijuana through ordinance or ballot initiative. Local governments also have the right to create further restrictions on the sale and cultivation, beyond what is required by the state.
Should Amendment 64 pass, we will provide more detailed information to our members on the process and their role in a new industry.
If the Amendment doesn’t pass, we can expect a backlash against the medical marijuana industry by the opponents of the initiative. We have already seen a great amount of misinformation about the safety of the product and the impact on public safety of the stores. This misinformation has been used in hit pieces against candidates for the legislature and will therefore likely result in some very negative legislation against the industry.
Whatever the future holds, Cannabis Business Alliance will be working to ensure that the marijuana businesses currently in operation have a strong voice and seat at the table when it comes to implementation of the new law, or in beating back punitive legislation should the Amendment fail.
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