Future Colorado Pot Shops, Growers Win Flexibility

By Alex Ruiz

Where should recreational pot sold in Colorado come from? Lawmakers debating the hotly argued marijuana question came down on the side of flexibility Monday, voting to reject the state’s current medical marijuana model, which requires dispensaries to grow most of the pot they sell.
A special House-Senate committee set up to regulate pot made the decision on their final day. The committee voted to seek a bill allowing future pot businesses to specialize in just one aspect of the business if they wish, growing or distributing or retailing.
At issue is whether future recreational marijuana shops should be like liquor stores, which don’t have to make the products they sell. Some wanted marijuana shops to act like current medical marijuana dispensaries, which are required to grow 70 percent of the marijuana they sell.
The question sharply divided Colorado’s existing pot industry. A coalition of large-scale pot businesses argued to keep Colorado’s grow-your-own requirement. They argued it would give Colorado greater control over the state’s crop of the federally illegal drug.
“It makes sure that if you’re growing it, you have a legal way of selling it,” said Mike Elliott, head of the Denver-based Medical Marijuana Industry Group.
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