Colorado Has a Plan to Avoid a Marijuana Crackdown
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Colorado Has a Plan to Avoid a Marijuana Crackdown
Posted by CN Staff on March 25, 2017 at 15:05:58 PT
By Associated Press
Source: Time
Denver -- Colorado is considering an unusual strategy to protect its nascent marijuana industry from a potential federal crackdown, even at the expense of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax collections. A bill pending in the Legislature would allow pot growers and retailers to reclassify their recreational pot as medical pot if a change in federal law or enforcement occurs.It's the boldest attempt yet by a U.S. marijuana state to avoid federal intervention in its weed market. The bill would allow Colorado's 500 or so licensed recreational pot growers to instantly reclassify their weed. A switch would cost the state more than $100 million a year because Colorado taxes medical pot much more lightly than recreational weed  2.9 percent versus 17.9 percent.
The measure says licensed growers could immediately become medical licensees "based on a business need due to a change in local, state or federal law or enforcement policy." The change wouldn't take recreational marijuana off the books, but it wouldn't entirely safeguard it either. What it could do is help growers protect their inventory in case federal authorities start seizing recreational pot.The provision is getting a lot of attention in the marijuana industry following recent comments from members of President Donald Trump's administration. White House spokesman Sean Spicer has said there's a "big difference" between medical and recreational pot.Sponsors of the bill call it a possible exit strategy for the new pot industry. It's hard to say how many businesses would be affected, or if medical pot would flood the market, because some businesses hold licenses to both grow and sell marijuana in Colorado.The state had about 827,000 marijuana plants growing in the retail system in June, the latest available data. More than half were for the recreational market."If there is a change in federal law, then I think all of our businesses want to stay in business somehow. They've made major investments," said Sen. Tim Neville, a suburban Denver Republican who sponsored the bill.If federal authorities start seizing recreational pot, Colorado's recreational marijuana entrepreneurs "need to be able to convert that product into the medical side so they can sell it," Neville said.His bill passed a committee in the Republican Senate 4-1 last week.But it's unclear whether the measure could pass the full Colorado Senate or the Democratic House. Skeptics of the proposal doubt the classification change would do much more than cost Colorado tax money."It's a big deal for our taxation system because this money has been coming in and has been set aside for this, that and the other," said Sen. Lois Court, a Denver Democrat who voted against the bill.Schools would be the first casualty of a tax change. Colorado sends $40 million a year to a school-construction fund from excise taxes on recreational pot. It's a tax that doesn't exist for medical pot.Other items funded by recreational pot in Colorado include training for police in identifying stoned drivers, a public-education campaign aimed at reducing teen marijuana use, and an array of medical studies on marijuana's effectiveness treating ailments such as seizures or post-traumatic stress disorder.The proposal comes amid mixed signals from the federal government on how the Trump administration plans to treat states that aren't enforcing federal drug law.Spicer said the president understands the pain and suffering many people, especially those with terminal diseases, endure "and the comfort that some of these drugs, including medical marijuana, can bring to them."But Attorney General Jeff Sessions has voiced doubts about pot's medical value."Medical marijuana has been hyped, maybe too much," Sessions said in a speech to law enforcement agencies in Richmond, Virginia.Marijuana activists say giving the industry an option to keep their inventory legal is a valuable idea for recreational pot states. They point out that a change in federal policy wouldn't make the drug magically disappear from the eight states that allow recreational use, along with Washington, D.C."It would be very harmful to the state if it reverts back entirely to an underground market," said Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-legalization activist group.If the bill becomes law, Colorado would be the first pot state to take action to protect producers from a federal drug crackdown, marijuana analysts said.A bill pending in the Oregon Legislature aims to shield the names and other personal information of pot buyers by making it illegal for shops to keep an internal log of customers' personal data, a practice that is already banned or discouraged in Colorado, Alaska and Washington state.Other states such as California are considering proposals that would bar local and state law enforcement from cooperating with federal authorities on investigations into cannabis operations that are legal in their jurisdictions.Meanwhile, members of Congress from some pot states have talked about trying to block federal intervention in marijuana states. Congress could reclassify marijuana so medical use is allowed, or it could try to block federal enforcement of marijuana prohibition through the federal budget.But the proposed Colorado change may be a longshot effort.Medical and recreational pot are the same product. The only difference between them is how they are used, and the U.S. Controlled Substances Act says marijuana has no valid medical use. Federal health regulators have rejected repeated attempts to carve out a legal place for marijuana use by sick people.Sponsors concede there are no promises that reclassifying all that pot as medicine would stop a federal crackdown.But they say Colorado shouldn't sit idly by and wait to see if the Trump administration starts enforcing federal drug law by attacking businesses that are legal under state law."This bill allows the industry to know there is something after tomorrow, whatever tomorrow may bring," Neville said.Source: Time Magazine (US) Published: March 25, 2017Copyright: 2017 Time Inc.Contact: letters time.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on March 26, 2017 at 18:19:49 PT
We need money to live but when I see unadulterated greed I am offended. Money is a drug to some people and when they have more and more money and it loses it's glitter since you can only buy so much stuff then Power becomes the drug and that is dangerous.
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Comment #9 posted by Mikeeeeee on March 26, 2017 at 17:57:16 PT
FoM -- concept of money 
Most people would agree money is a tool, used in a market type system, but there are negative side effects: mainly corruption and greed.
Capitalism does not account for social justice. Good social policy is needed, a safety net, because only a small number of people benefit from a money system, that is seen more with ever growing populations.
As the song says, money is a crime/injustice. 
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Comment #8 posted by gloovins on March 26, 2017 at 15:59:32 PT
out the bottle. Deal with it.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on March 26, 2017 at 15:10:34 PT
Your comment made me think of this song.Money: Pink Floyd:
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on March 26, 2017 at 15:07:44 PT
I agree with The GCW. I would never shoot back. I just don't believe in retaliation. It starts a cycle then cannot be stopped. I would think more along the lines of this Scripture.Jesus said: Father forgive them for they know not what they do.
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on March 26, 2017 at 09:59:06 PT
We've been requested to "love one another."You can not shoot back at someone and love them at the same time.I have what I came for; "the spirit of truth." I'm ready to go. The "spirit of truth" comes to those who love one another and it "teaches Us all things."Before You leave, make sure You acquire what You are here to get; don't leave without it.   THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH is the ONLY THING YOU CAN TAKE WITH YOU.  This here is a transfer station on an infinite scale of sorts and Your purpose for being here is to get the SPIRIT OF TRUTH. You are (almost) not here for anything else.With it, You understand it is better to be shot and move on than shoot back and stay.When We obey and love one another & receive the spirit of truth, We are a "FRIEND" of God. When You leave, You want to be a FRIEND of God. Your eternal situation may be different if You are NOT a friend of My Father.Loving one another is (very) difficult but achievable. It was difficult for the Christ Jesus and it's difficult for Me.
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Comment #4 posted by Vincent on March 26, 2017 at 08:47:23 PT:
The choice
I know that some of the sponsors of this board might wanna delete my post, but here goes...I believe that if the States of Colorado, Oregon, California, etc. are against a Federal crackdown that they should consider this...if the Feds come in and start shooting, then the people of Colorado (including the State militia, and local & State police forces) should shoot back! If the Feds know that, then they WILL back down, trust me on this one. A little FEAR put into the Feds' hearts, can go a long way!
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Comment #3 posted by MikeEEEEE on March 26, 2017 at 07:44:09 PT
Seems one side wants to protect tax revenue and the other side (Feds) would profit by capturing assests. Always seems to come down to the money, not the moral issue or science. 
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on March 26, 2017 at 07:04:40 PT
No. Don't go backwards.
I don't believe it is good to go from allowing cannabis for adult use to deciding it is not ok for adults to use cannabis as legal acknowledgement. We should not back-track. That would be political suicide. Lost gains...The above political move may be an abusive action by a governor (or such) to remove "recreational" cannabis from law. In My state, Colorado, I believe most politicians support RE-legalized cannabis, yet what I believe may not be reality and behind the scenes there are pols who would like to remove cannabis from it's present protected form...-0-What We should be doing is fighting and preparing to fight the feds.In today's Alternet is this, to help with a different approach I believe is more appropriate:  The Hour of the Attorneys General State Democratic AGs have assumed new importance in the effort to contain the Trump presidency. 
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on March 25, 2017 at 15:57:30 PT
"Jeff Sessions has voiced doubts about pot's medic
al value."Round and round we go... he does NOT WANT to know.Back in time, say about 50 years... ?This is not progress, this is the contrary.
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