A hearing portended fireworks Tuesday afternoon in the Senate Finance Committee. Chairman Tim Neville, R-Littleton, started the two-hour discussion of regulating licenses for growers, sellers and vendors by calling medical marijuana “the granddaddy of them all” and “everyone’s favorite” topic.
In the end, however, only one of the 15 recommendations presented by senior policy analyst Brian Tobias of the Department of Regulatory Agencies got a yes or a no: Senators agreed that the regulatory program should be extended to 2019. Failing to do that much wouldn’t have made medical pot go away, but it would have made it unregulated.
The rest of DORA’s recommendations aren’t dead, but they aren’t fully debated enough to be included in a bill the House and Senate could vote on, as the Finance Committee unanimously determined. Most of the recommendations are aimed at handling the business of medical marijuana more like recreational pot, including testing standards and keeping criminals out of the mix.
Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, said some of the 15 recommendations merit a slow roll on the legislation that eventually re-enacts the rules, while most lean toward housekeeping and keeping things consistent.
“Some of them are great ideas, some I’m a little concerned about from a public policy standpoint and a constitutional standpoint,” Hill, the committee’s vice chairman, told the four other members.
He preferred changes to the program being added on as individually considered amendments. Testing, for example, is “an important issue, let’s make sure we get that right … Rather than starting with all 15 amendments and changing it from there, let’s start from scratch and make good policy,” Hill said.