General Assembly Bills for 2015 Session Concerning Marijuana

June 08, 2015

This is a summary of the bills passed by the Colorado General Assembly 2015 session that have an impact on marijuana consumers or businesses.

House Bill 15-1305 — Prohibition on Manufacturing Marijuana Concentrate

Signed by Governor on 5/29

  • The bill would make it unlawful for non-licensed person to knowingly manufacture or permit the manufacture of marijuana concentrate using inherently dangerous substance. This is a level 2 drug felony.
    • “Inherently dangerous substance” means any liquid chemical, compressed gas, or commercial product that has a flash point at or lower than 38 degrees Celsius or 100 degrees Fahrenheit
      • Includes: butane, propane, and diethyl ether.
      • Excludes all forms of alcohol and ethanol.
  • Takes effect July 1st 2015 and applies to offenses committed on or after said date.

House Bill 15-1367 — Ballot Issue for Excess Marijuana Tax Funds

Signed by Governor on 6/04

  • This bill would make a ballot issue for the Nov. 3rd 2015 statewide election to allow the state to retain and spend state revenues that would otherwise be refunded for exceeding an estimate included in the ballot information booklet for proposition AA by which voters approved retail marijuana taxes.
  • If voters reject the ballot, the refunds must be done prior to July 1st, 2016 and will be refunded as follows:
    • $13.3 million refunded to marijuana tax fund to replace decrease in revenue due to temporary retail marijuana sales tax rate reduction from 10% of sales price to .01% that would begin on Jan 1st 2016 until amount refunded is greater than or equal to required marijuana sales tax refund. If this doesn’t occur by June 3rd, rate reduction expires on June 30th 2016. The day after the tax returns to 10%.
    • $19.7 million refunded to marijuana cultivation facilities for all retail excise taxes collected during 2015-16
    • $25 million refunded through a sales and use tax refund
  • If voters approve, instead of a refund:
    • $40 million transferred to public school capital construction assistance fund
    • $12 million for youth programs, marijuana education and prevention programs, law enforcement services, substance abuse programs, poison control services, and newly created local government retail marijuana impact grant program
    • $6 million will remain in general fund
  • Each county would be authorized to levy an excise tax on the first sale or transfer of unprocessed retail marijuana. Proposal must be referred to and approved by count electors. Metro districts can do the same, but it cannot exceed the additional excise tax imposed by the county. These proposals must be referred to and approved by electors.
  • This bill says that the Colorado Department of Agriculture regulates applications of pesticides but local jurisdictions like Denver may assert power to protect public health if flower is contaminated.

House Bill 15-1379 — Concerning Creation of Marijuana Permitted Economic Interest Registrations

Signed by Governor on 5/29

  • This bill creates a Permitted Economic Interest (PEI) in both regulated medical marijuana and retail marijuana systems.
    • A PEI is any unsecured convertible debt instrument, option agreement, warrant, or any other right to obtain an ownership interest when the holder of the interest is a natural person who is a lawful US resident and whose right to convert into an ownership interest is contingent on holder qualifying and obtaining a med or retail marijuana license or any other agreements as may be permitted by rule by the state licensing authority
  • State licensing authority is authorized to adopt rules regarding PEIs including a criminal history record check, divestiture, and other agreements that qualify as PEIs.

House Bill 15-1387 — Elimination of Authorized Transfer of Medical Marijuana to Retail Marijuana at Time a Retail Marijuana Establishment License Becomes Effective

Signed by Governor on 6/05

  • Beginning on July 1st, 2016, no transfers will be allowed from a Medical Marijuana Center or Medical Marijuana Infused Products Manufacturer. Only transfers allowed are plants and products from cultivator to cultivator.
  • If a retail license is granted, on effective date of license all medical plants and inventory become retail plants and inventory.
  • If retail license is granted and applicant retains medical license, applicant must designate which inventory will become retail inventory.

House Bill 15-1283 — Marijuana Lab Testing Reference Library

Signed by Governor on 6/05

  • This bill authorizes the state health agency develop and maintain a marijuana lab testing reference library. Currently licensed labs are required to provide materials for library. These materials will be made public no later than Dec. 31st, 2015.
  • The reference library must contain methodologies for marijuana testing in areas of potency, homogeneity, contaminants, and solvents.
  • The General Assembly may appropriate moneys from the marijuana tax cash fund for the lab testing reference library.

House Bill 15-1267 — Medical Marijuana and Probation

Signed by Governor on 5/08

  • Unless a defendant is convicted of a crime under 12-43.3 CRS (the Medical Marijuana Code), possession and/or use of medical marijuana shall not be considered another offense that violates probation.
  • A court shall not prohibit possession/use of medical marijuana for probation unless the defendant convicted of crime under 12-43.3 CRS or if court determines that prohibiting medical marijuana is necessary to further goals of sentencing.

House Bill 15-1043 — Felony DUI Bill

Signed by Governor on 6/01

  • This bill adds driving under the influence of marijuana to the DUI and DWAI provisions.
  • This bill makes it a class 4 felony if a DUI, DWAI, or DUI per se violation occurs after three or more prior convictions for DUI, DWAI, DUI per se, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, or any combination thereof.

Senate Bill 15-260 — Medical Marijuana Product Testing

Signed by Governor on 5/29

  • This bill authorizes the state licensing authority to establish a medical marijuana testing program to ensure that products are free of hazardous substances and correctly labeled.
  • Mandatory medical marijuana testing will not begin until a marijuana laboratory testing reference library is established (see HB15-1283).
  • The bill establishes a medical marijuana testing facility license and allows the facility to develop and test marijuana products. A person interested in this license cannot have an interest in obtaining a license for a medical or retail dispensary, a medical or retail marijuana products manufacturer, an OPC, or a RMCF.
  • Takes effect July 1st, 2016.

Senate Bill 15-014 — Caregivers and Doctors Bill

Signed by Governor on 5/18

  • Licensed medical or retail dispensary owners may not register as a primary caregiver. Any dispensary employee or contractor can be a primary caregiver.
  • A primary caregiver cannot cultivate, transport, or possess more than 36 plants unless the caregiver has one or more patients who require an extended plant count. A primary caregiver with more than 36 plants is required to register with the state licensing authority.
  • A primary caregiver cannot cultivate more than 99 plants unless they are licensed by the state licensing authority as an authorized medical marijuana business.
  • Patients cannot cultivate more than 99 plants. Patients cultivating more than 6 medical plants are encouraged to register with the state licensing authority.
  • A person cannot be listed as a cultivating or transporting primary caregiver for more than five patients on the medical marijuana registry at any given time unless exceptional circumstances apply.
  • A patient is not allowed to have more than one primary caregiver and cannot have both a designated caregiver and a medical marijuana center cultivating marijuana on their behalf.
  • Parents of a minor patient can designate a caregiver to assist with their child’s medical marijuana needs.
  • The registry portions of Section 3 will not take effect until January 1st, 2017, because the registry won’t be built until them. All other portions of this bill took effect upon its passage and the governor’s signature.
  • There are many other provisions of this bill that affect the marijuana industry.

Senate Bill 15-115 — Sunset review of Medical Marijuana programs

Signed by Governor on 6/05

  • This bill extends the sunset review of the medical marijuana code until 2019.
  • It also harmonizes provisions in the medical marijuana code with corresponding retail marijuana code provisions.

Senate Bill 15-065 — Prohibition on Welfare at certain establishments

Signed by Governor on 5/01

  • Welfare cards cannot be used at any marijuana dispensary.

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