Will Colorado soon become an open market for pot production?

Posted on: February 27, 2011

A recent article in a local newspaper, The Mountain Mail, outlines possible legislation that would allow Colorado to produce, use and export medical marijuana. As a result, Chaffee County commissioners are looking to set in place land use stipulations for marijuana growing and manufacturing operations. Chaffee County is mostly a rural mountain area but it seems that the commissioners need to have the foresight to regulate all use of medical marijuana.

In 2000 the voters of Colorado approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes; however two things have happened since then. First, the Obama administration said it would no longer prosecute pot cases in states where voters approved pot for medical purposes. This is significant, because Federal law prohibits use and production of marijuana. In other words, if you are caught smoking, selling or growing marijuana the police can arrest you on Federal charges. However, by not prosecuting marijuana use or production leaves the door wide open for open market production of medical marijuana.

Second, Colorado state medical board has changed regulations on growers and the number of patients they can serve. As a result, the pot industry has exploded in Colorado, from 5,000 medical marijuana users to 175,000 or more and growing. That’s a lot of “sick” people needing medical marijuana! It seems that this is definitely a growing market.

If the Chaffee County Commissioners follow through on zoning, it appears only pot growing and pot manufacturing operations would be allowed in the county. Under these regulations, and subject to whatever statutes come out of the Legislature, growers could sell product to pot retailers located in municipalities or to other shops in other counties and cities. In other words, Chaffee County would have the distinction of becoming a pot exporter.

The article goes on to urge the commissioners to stop any further expansion of pot growing or manufacturing operations in the county. There are now three pot growers in the county that are being “grandfathered.” Apparently, this means that if commissioners were to decide that no grow or manufacturing operations would be allowed in the county, these three would not be affected because they were in place before county regulations were approved.

If a more liberal legislation is passed will it lead to a “cartel” of drug production and distribution in Colorado? Will the Mexican drug cartel come in and help develop this business in Colorado? Will Colorado have the distinction of being known as the drug cartel capital of “medical marijuana” growing? The commissioners should consider this before making their decision as well as the Colorado legislatures.


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