Tuesday, January 8, 2013

All things MJ with Jessica LeRoux - January 8, 2012 - Meetings report

Hey Now,

Well I survived about 7 hours of Amendment 64 Meetings today (1st the criminal law workgroup, then the 4 hour general task force meeting) and i have plenty to tell you about it all. Plus reviews of the other two workgroup meetings I have participated in as well... and there is some non-64 related industry news too, so get your late night reading glasses on, and I will get a plate of food to sustain my typing, and here we go, cuddling up for some regulatory good times! 

how I am planning to review these meetings is by doing a recap of the general task force meeting today, where each workgroup presented a review of their workgroups meetings to date, (then in each of the workgroup sections I will expound with my notes from that workgroup's meeting in a different font to make it clear we have a differing perspective being offered) ***my own personal asides and observations will be the more colorful stuff, and that will likewise appear in a 3rd, colored font.... to my mind this is the easiest way to prevent redundancy and still give you all the info you need to be fully informed. I am also attaching a scan of documents and hand outs I gathered at these meetings, please overlook the notes I've scrawled in the margins, those meetings get long and boring! if you have legit questions about what you are reading you can call me anytime for a QUICK Q&A, and please bear in mind that there is nothing set in stone yet so I cant advise you yet on the best plan for October right now, but if I know about something, you can all rest assured that in a jiffy you will too! 

here is a link to contact info for task force panelists, in case you want to send any of them your thoughts... http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheader=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1251842728664&ssbinary=true

here is a link to the scanned handouts, the 1st two are from last thursday's consumer saftey meeting, and the 2nd set is from the criminal law workgroup. 

So the meeting today started with a discussion led by Jack Findlaw, about moving the meetings from Golden to Downtown Denver, so pay attention to posted dates for a locale change. Mr Findlaw made clear that the workgroups are set, and no new people will be added, he doesnt see any need for every stakeholder to have a representative at the table, panels are balanced enough! *** insert sound of manic crazed laughter here!
The conversation continued with a discussion of what Colorado Sunshine laws dictate re workgroup meetings and the requirement that they be open to the public as well as provide minutes and be recorded. Mr Findlaw said that some parts of the regulatory task force could operate in his words "in the legal grey area," *** that makes me really uncomfortable. Barb Brohl said the task force must post minutes and materials at least 24 hours in advance of any meeting they have set. Christian S asked for contact info to be posted to web for all workgroups, Jack findlaw responded by saying he didnt know if he had all the contact info.***really jack? but you said in the past 10 minutes that the workgroups were specially selected, and they were set in stone, but you dont know who is on them or have their email addresses? Wow!  

So then we heard from the regulatory workgroup, they met last Thursday the 3rd and I have a few notes on their meeting too... this link is the handout from that meeting with contact info and such...http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheader=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1251845166205&ssbinary=true
we learned that the regulatory group was given 3 presentations last week, from Liquor enforcement, Gaming enforcement, and Laura Harris from MMED. 
( notes from that meeting, the presentation from liquor was well received and professional,they showed a lot of results on a modest budget, but the presentation from MMED was an underprepared hot mess.)  
the workgroup discussed the vertical integration issue, ie in liquor vertical integration is prohibited, in MMJ it is required... and one panelist brought up some good questions about the 70/30 aspect of vertical integration. No decisions were made. *** I think we should be pushing to kill the 70/30 rule, it is impossible to live with in a free market world. 
this workgroup also discussed the residency rules, 1stly would nonresidents be eligible to own/invest in a cannabis retail business, and 2ndly would the state allow canna-tourism... 
there was some talk of establishing a set of public policy principals to help the decision making process. 
regulations to prevent interstate commerce (one aspect driving the residency issue for ownership) 
the workgroup hopes to get some federal feedback re federal constitutional issues. 
The questions asked of the workgroup chairs included... a projection of regulatory costs, caddy version vs honda version. he was told costs are being calculated... 
Dr THurstone asked what the benefits of vertical integration, and the DOR guy told him that it is what the industry "likes" *** I almost fell out of my chair, I dont think we asked for or like VI, it was forced on our asses by some folks so focused on killing the competition, who spent all their investor money influencing a set of laws they couldnt even survive. 
The interstate commerce issue was explained in regards to the voter intent and that sales to tourists remain ambigious, It was pointed out that Local municipalities rely on the state system, and issues get pushed back to local enforcement esp if the funding for licenses is single system rather than dual licensing (like we have now) Costs for that enforcement etc get pushed off on locals. 
this lead to a lengthy discussion of STATE RUN STORES, Findlaw discussed bringing an expert from Pennsylvania to educate on state run model. Washington state is apparently using a state run model, and they have concerns about black market there... Dr Thurstone endorsed the state run model as it removes "commercialization" from the model, says cmml aspect worst risk/impact to kids *** gee Doc just who do you think would be applying to work at these state run shops, I doubt the employees would be a very differing set of individuals...  
Christian S replied with a great session ender, basically saying that per the voters consumer is not defined as a resident, it is any person who is over 21... 
and showing true colors, Chris urbina said who cares let the workgroups make decisions on this shit... 
this workgroup meets thursdays from 2-5 at the MMED offices on 455 sherman st. 

Next we heard from the Consumer Safety social impacts workgroup. 
*** I wanna preface by saying that this whole workgroup presentation was less than 5 minutes, which makes me question the commitment to kids vs lip service being paid....
Issues discussed were children minors and the impact of access to cannabis re packaging, labels, advertising, and child safety. Esp vis a vis diversion. 
*** see how fucked up is it that i just reviewed the whole section from today's meeting. my notes on the workgroup session from 1/3/13 are immediately below and they have more insights about this workpoop, i mean group. 
(at the meeting last thursday this workgroup discussed such other wacko topics as THC potency limitation *** last I checked plants dont respond to regulation, they respond to environmental conditions. also discussed recommendations to social services re children in cannabis consuming homes, parenting programs, prohibition of advertising to minors, drug free schools, mold & pesticide exposure for kids in homes with grows, risks to pregnant women & labeling for that, and of course appropriately labeling, health inspection of facilities, and best practices for vendors) 

now on to the Criminal Law workgroup (i also attended this workgroup meeting this morning before the big task force meeting).  
*** more personal notes to preface, this workgroup leader bragged about the diversity of his panel... a panel made up of 4 white women, and 11 white men, deciding criminal justice issues, but wait doesnt colorado still have issues with disproportionate prosecution of persons of color for cannabis possession? mmm-mmm love me some diversity! 
The criminal workgroup pushed a few issues off their plate to start with, namely they endorsed not spending any time reviewing proposed DUI regulations, in favor of simply accepting the unscientific consensus of the CCJJ to support a renewed attempt to pass a 5 nanogram THC limit, which would no longer have a per se limit, but instead now be a rebuttable defense, ***which means you would have to give up your blood, or give up your license, and then give up a wad of cash to defend your innocence in court. Lets recall that the CCJJ decided not to support the 5 nanogram per se limit because in their words, "5 nanograms is unreliable". 
This work group also passed the buck on regulating Industrial Hemp, saying they were too busy to work on that in addition to the regulation of cannabis for recreation, ad by law they dont have to do this work until 2014... *** so basically the task force thinks making cannabis accessible is more important than helping broke ass farmers in the rural part of the state grow a very profitable food & fuel crop, typical fuck the farm attitude.  
so the task force is now going to back the CCJJ promoting this DUI into legislation, with no discussion. WE heard a presentation from workgroup member Sheriff robinson, about the Drug Policy Task force. Many panelists lamented the lack of Drug recognition experts, only 168 for the whole state. 
The WorkGroup is being broken down into three subgroups, as follows.. 
A. Statutory modifications to state and local laws governing plants, possession, paraphenalia,  diversion, public use etc.. 
B. Terminology subgroup, redefining terms like "public" "closed space" and many many more... 
plus comparisons of title 12 (liquor) time, place, manor of use restrictions, vs title 25 (tobacco) and will tobacco smoking restrictions be applied to Cannabis per the CO clean Air act... 
C. Law Enforcement has tons of issues in their subgroup. Child Protection/Diversion issues and penalties; reasonable suspicion for searches in home or at traffic stop; volume of Cannabis persons may possess, (1 oz on the go, your whole damn harvest of your 6 plants at your house!); K-9 dog issues concerning volume possessed, addl non cannabis substances, concerns over communal adult living and who's plants are whos... and quite a few issues that worried them about the consequences and costs of local law enforcement being required to store/return post seizure of a person proven innocent, processed as well as living plants. this case law in CO springs was brought up, and it is very applicable, so ive linked it here for you, Fights over medical marijuana case evidence could be costlywww.gazette.comA medical marijuana grower acquitted of drug-cultivation charges at a December trial wants Colorado... Also concerns about the consequences of a person booked into jail on a non-cannabis crime who possesses less than one ounce of cannabis, and does that facility have to hold & return that weed along with their rings and wallet upon release, *the sheriff said he was worried that his men could be federally charged with distribution under the CSA if they returned product to a consumer. This federal cop-out (god I love puns!) was used 3 times, also on the issue of federal grants to localities for roads, airports, and many other issues which require local officials to sign their word that they are upholding all State & FEDERAL laws, so they claim the state stands to loose tons of federal funding since they cant lie and just sign the grant forms... Lastly this workgroup discussed the possibility of allowing non-medical  professionals do DUI blood draws so they can be done instantly to prevent too much time from lapsing while rural dui victims are dragged all over hell to a open medical facility *** super fucked up, 1stly we cannot allow cops to stick us with needles (some of whom may have a grudge, or an aversion to blood, which makes their efforts less than professional & neutral). 2ndly  didnt these guys just claim they weren't gonna waste any of their precious limited time on DUI issues. 3rdly intervenal Blood draws are a complicated medical procedure not a law enforcement revenue generator.  
( this workgroup meeting was pretty odd, take a few minutes to look over the hand-out in my attachments, the speculative nature of the scenarios presented, for instance why does this assume Law Enforcement will be setting up roadside sobriety check points outside of redrocks, and the frat party scenario is odd too... I'd prefer that laws be made on real cases and science rather than pure speculation. )

the fourth group we heard from was the Tax/funding workgroup. 
This workgroup has yet to have their 1st meeting, which is planned for Wednesday the 9th from 11-1pm at 1515 sherman st, so be there if you can... that meeting is going to cover banking issues specifically. This workgroup plans to handle one issue in depth at each workgroup session, and complete it at that session. Barb Brohl pointed out the urgency of figuring out the funding before the system is built upon these concepts from the workgroups, Tax/Funding chairman David Blake asked all workgroups to provide projected costs with any recommendation they bring to the task force which struck me as smart. 

and lastly we heard from the local regulation workgroup 
again this group had not had a meeting yet, they will meet this coming friday the 11th at 1144 Sherman St 12-4pm so attend if you can, esp if you arent denver based... 
the discussion here was mainly about the dual licensing model used in MMJ (local & state approval required) and the fears that single licensing system would push too many costs onto local municipality if there isnt enough $ built into the fees to transfer some cash to the local agencies... also this workgroup will be addressing in depth the regulation of time, place, manor that cannabis can be consumed. as well as local licenses and ordinance changes. 
*** this was a workgroup that had me worried that there may be some effort on the state's part to write some pretty rules while at the same time having these guys go teach every town how to opt out of the new system... will be keeping my eye on this one... 

There followed a discussion of workgroup areas of overlap and some really solid public commentary. All in all a long ass day! I still have some non-64 issues to share with you for the week, so stay tuned and read on, but maybe take a safety break 1st, you've earned it with all this reading! 

There was a ton of discussion of diversion at the meeting, and the timing of this report did nothing to diminish that... the RMHIDTF has released a new study claiming that in a mere 3 week period of time the task force found CO mmj in 21 other states.... http://www.rmhidta.org/(X(1)S(ltdbj355kwk1r1ico2ih4g55))/default.aspx?MenuItemID=687&MenuGroup=RMHIDTAHome&&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

This story is not A-64 related at all, but if it reminds you to support the business that just spent 2.5 hours writing up this review to help you stay informed, by ordering some delicious healthy edibles, well that cant hurt can it? we use only fresh raw whole food ingredients, to make all our products from scratch using original recipes, and we know that is a rarity in CO edibles! 

thanks for reading, I hope you feel that you learned something, please dont kill the messenger if you dont like what you've learned, I've provided you the contact info you need to send your thoughts and feedback to any member of the panel, and I certainly hope you will do just that! 

Have a brighter tomorrow, and thanks for all the orders, you are helping Twirling Hippy Confections start 2013 on a busy and productive note! 

Jessica LeRoux
Twirling Hippy Confections
2145 W Evans, Denver CO
303 922 3661 


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