Legislators in Colorado face a bill that would establish the nation's first "responsible medical marijuana vendor" designation, giving cannabis business the option to train employees in a state-approved program. The state Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division already requires cannabis workers to undergo background checks. Employees must wear state-issued badges and be under video surveillance at all times they are handling cannabis seeds, plants or products. The proposed "responsible vendor" designation would go to businesses whose employees have had additional training in such issues as identifying legal medical marijuana cards.
A similar designation already is in place for businesses that sell alcohol. The designation would not exempt a company from regulatory violations, but the MMED could consider the designation a mitigating factor in possible enforcement action.
Brian Vicente, head of Sensible Colorado, said, "It's really an attempt by the industry to further establish clear regulation and responsibility." Democratic state Sen. Lois Tochtrop, who sponsored the bill, said the additional training could give cannabis workers "more clarity," and gives the public "more confidence in the industry." Robert Hoban, head of the state Cannabis Business Alliance, called the designation "the next logical step" in medical marijuana regulation. (News 7, Denver, March 1)
Colorado voters will meanwhile face a November initiative to legalize personal possession of cannabis in the state, as the "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act" was approved for the ballot. State authorities certified that campaigners had achieved the needed number of signatures on Feb. 27. "This could be a watershed year in the decades-long struggle to end marijuana prohibition in this country," Art Way, Colorado director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. (Reuters, Feb. 28; NORML, Feb. 27)
Photo by the Mad Pothead