DENVER – The Colorado Department of Revenue’s 64-page “emergency” regulations for recreational marijuana require hefty investments in application and licensing fees, recordkeeping, product labeling and packaging, and security systems.
However, the Department of Revenue is encouraging public comment by email or at the public hearing during the week of August 19. The date, time and location have not been pinned down.
“Our work is not done and we will continue to move forward and provide our state a well-regulated industry that maintains a clear focus on public safety, “said Barbara Bohl, executive director of the state Department of revenue, in a statement.
The temporary regulations to implement Amendment 64, approved by voters in November, were developed without a public hearing in order to meet the July 1 deadline.
The rules will be updated in October when licensed medical marijuana producers and dispensers may submit license applications for recreational marijuana.
Applications will be open to industry newcomers in January 2014, and the regulations will likely be amended again through bills during the legislative session.
Retail cannabis application and license fees for existing medical marijuana licensees will be $500 and $3,750 respectively. New applicants in January will pay a heftier price – $5,000 to process the application and $14,000 to obtain the license.
“It’s going to be kind of financially hard to get into that business,” said Chloe Villano of Clover Leaf Consulting on The Russ Belville Show last week.
Added to that will be the costs of installing a security system with alarms and surveillance cameras; creating off-limit areas in retail stores that can only be accessed by owners, employees and contractors; and labeling and packaging marijuana products.
Cannabis products must be in “child-proof or child-resistant” containers, identify the amount of THC per gram and potency of that and other substances, and include the following label warnings:
“There may be health risks associated with the consumption of this product.”
“This product is intended for use by adults 21 years and older. Keep out of reach of children.”
“This product is unlawful outside of the State of Colorado.”
The regulations are extensive, but remain vague on key issues, particularly implementation of the seed-to-sell system to track marijuana from cultivation to the retail counter.
“Licensed Retail Marijuana Stores must establish tracking methods to ensure its inventories are identified and tracked from the point they are transferred from a Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility or Retail Marijuana Product manufacturer to the point of sale,” states the regulation.
Yet, specific requirements are not spelled out in the temporary regulations.
The seed-to-sell policy, which would track marijuana from its cultivation origins to vendors, was supposed to be implemented in the state’s medical marijuana regulations. However, an audit of the state Revenue Department last year revealed that the program didn’t exist because of mismanaged and depleted funding.
To fund the regulatory program for recreational marijuana sales, voters will be asked in November to approve a 15 percent state sales tax and 15 percent excise tax.