Colorado House passes largest cannabis legislation since legalization — aimed at restricting quantities and potency of state’s cannabis

Colorado House passes largest cannabis legislation since legalization — aimed at restricting quantities and potency of state’s cannabis

VicesMay 28, 2021 By Will Brendza

On Thursday May 27th, the Colorado House almost unanimously voted to pass the largest regulatory cannabis legislation since the state voted to legalize cannabis in 2014. It’s a bill that will restrict user and patient access to cannabis should it pass in the Colorado Senate.

HB-1317, or the Regulating Marijuana Concentrates bill, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s legislation that will not only regulate the amount of cannabis concentrates that users and patents are allowed to purchase at once, but one that also aims to limit the potency of certain cannabis products consumers have access to.

There’s quite a bit packed into this legislation. HB-1317 would require the Colorado school of public health to conduct a study on the “possible” physical and mental effects of high-potency THC products. It would establish a “scientific review council;” add restrictions for patients between the ages of 18 and 20 trying to get medical marijuana cards; require hospitals to test and report THC levels in emergency and hospital room visits; prohibit marketing cannabis to 18-20 year olds; and require dispensaries to collect more customer data at purchase.

Perhaps most notably, though, the bill would limit both medical and recreational marijuana customers to buying eight grams of “high potency” concentrates a day.

That’s not so bad — some of you might be thinking. After all, we do need more research and data on how cannabis affects developing brains, and generally, how it affects anyone’s brain. And who really needs to buy more than eight grams of concentrate a day?

But, to truly understand the spirit behind this bill, one has to understand the motivation of some of its sponsors. Namely, the motivations of representative Yadira Caraveo.

Back in February Caraveo was drafting legislation to limit all cannabis products sold in Colorado to 15% THC. She argued that high potency cannabis was putting Colorado’s children at risk, and it needed to be controlled. So, her bill recommended banning all roadside signage for marijuana businesses, banning flavored cannabis vapes and banning all cannabis suppositories.

Obviously, this Regulating Marijuana Concentrates bill isn’t quite as drastic as that. It is a reworked version, however. And knowing where Caraveo’s motivations stem from, this bill is making many suspect of its real purpose. While it doesn’t specifically outline a potency cap, it does seem to lay the foundation for one to eventually be established.