Colorado mulls lessons from 1st month of marijuana sales

On Jan. 1, Colorado became the first state in the nation to allow legal retail sales of recreational marijuana. Washington state, where voters also legalized the drug in 2012, is expected to launch its marketplace in the coming months.

[Colorado’s top marijuana regulator, Department of Revenue head Barbara] Brohl said other states and nations have asked how Colorado is regulating marijuana, from product safety to rules on how retailers market and sell pot.

“We’ve had to kind of duplicate a lot of the things the federal government does when it comes to regulation,” Brohl said.

Jack Finlaw, a lawyer for Gov. John Hickenlooper who joined Brohl last year in writing marijuana proposals, said Colorado wasn’t sure until August what the federal government planned to do about the state’s pot law.

Finlaw said state officials asked the U.S. Department of Justice: “We’ve clearly done something new, are you going to let us proceed, are you going to shut this all down?”

There was no immediate answer, Finlaw said. In the absence of guidance, he said, Colorado just winged it — trying to anticipate what the federal government would require. When the DOJ’s priorities were finally released, “they weren’t dramatically surprising,” Finlaw said.

Rep. Dan Pabon, a Denver Democrat who sponsored last year’s pot regulatory bill, pointed out that alcohol prohibition ended in 1933, but alcohol bills are still routinely considered in the Legislature.

“This will take time,” Pabon said on marijuana laws.

No one would guess how much tax money pot sales have produced in the first six weeks.

“That’s the $64,000 question that everybody has been asking since Jan. 2,” Brohl said with a smile.

via Colorado Springs Gazette: Colorado mulls lessons from 1st month of marijuana sales.

Categories: Business & Industry, Colorado, Policy & Politics

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