As deadline approaches, Colorado legislature finishing work on marijuana regulation

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May 8, 2013


By Alex Murray

DENVER, Colorado: With one day left in its session, the Colorado General Assembly is rushing to complete the regulation of marijuana, which voters legalized for recreational use last November.

After several attempts under the state's medical marijuana law in previous years, the legislature approved a legal driving limit of 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter. Governor John Hickenlooper (D) is expected to sign House Bill 1325 into law.[1]

Under amendments to House Bill 1317, the marijuana retail structuring which the Senate passed Tuesday, cities would not be allowed to operate marijuana stores.[1]

Even if the Assembly should pass marijuana taxation before adjourning, the matter would not be entirely settled for months. Amendment 64, the ballot measure that legalized marijuana, calls for a question on November's ballot of whether to approve marijuana taxes passed by the legislature. A 15 percent excise tax and an initial 10 percent sales tax passed a first vote in the Senate on Tuesday. Should the taxes pass a final vote on Wednesday, the House would need to concur on amendments by the midnight deadline. Hickenlooper would then need to sign House Bill 1318 before it heads to the ballot.[2]

A House resolution seeking guidance on regulation from the federal government, under which marijuana remains illegal, also passed.[2]

Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino (D) pledged on Monday that few bills would not receive a vote on his floor by the session's end. Should the legislature finish its work on marijuana on time, it would become the first in the country to successfully regulate the drug for recreational use. Washington, the other state to have voters legalize recreational marijuana last year, included excise taxes in its ballot measure.[3][4]

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