Since the Amendment 64 Task Force, law enforcement has been complaining about having to return marijuana. They’ve been especially upset about having to care for and/or return living plants. And they’ve been adamant about clamping down on home cultivation.
House Judiciary Committee
Thursday, February 25, at 1:30
Colorado State Capitol, Room 0112
There’s so much not to like about this bill.
HB16-1214 would give law enforcement the “tools” they need to get what they want. The $6,000 limit on damages smacks of asset forfeiture. There’s also a $10,000 per day fine that would discourage and punish people for even considering home cultivation. It pushes the date for the new 99-plant limit to July 1, 2016, before the new registry is ready and without an opportunity to notify patients and caregivers. And then there’s this weird piece about donated and discounted plants that I can’t quite figure out but seems ripe for abuse and diversion.
Under current law, a medical marijuana center may discount or donate medical marijuana or plants to indigent patients. The bill exempts any discounted or donated medical marijuana from production limits.
The bill limits the damages that can be awarded when a person sues a law enforcement agency for destruction of medical marijuana plants to $6,000 or the actual damages, whichever is less
The bill requires the court to impose a fine of up to $10,000 per day on a defendant convicted of illegal marijuana cultivation from the date the illegal marijuana cultivation operation was discovered by law enforcement until the date the illegal cultivation operation was no longer operational.
In 2015, the general assembly passed Senate Bill 15-014, which limited the total number of plants that a primary caregiver can grow to 36 plants, unless the primary caregiver has a patient with an extended plant count, in which case the limit is 99 plants. Senate Bill 15-014 made the limits effective January 1, 2017. The bill makes the limits effective July 1, 2016.
At the end of the 2015 session, Rep. Conti and law enforcement fought to amend the caregiver bill and limit all home cultivation to 36 plants. (Some of you might remember the Coke Truck story.)
The first draft of this new bill would have limited everyone to 6 plants, but that section was removed before the bill was introduced. That just shows you how far they would like to go to stomp on your right to grow your medicine at home. And there are members of the industry who would support that effort just to eliminate the competition.
This bill is a HUGE overreach by law enforcement. Why should a person give up their personal property rights just because it’s marijuana? What happens to the property or proceeds from the sale? Will it, along with the daily fine, simply go to replace lost revenue in light of cutbacks in the DEA’s Equitable Sharing program as well as changes in state and local laws?
This is a money grab and a backdoor to re-criminalizing legal activities.
They’ve tried all sorts of excuses to try to get their way. Returning plants and property is forcing them to break federal law. Cops will be charged with drug trafficking. They don’t have the skills to care for live plants (that one is true). Etc. etc. etc.
The truth is that requiring law enforcement to care for and return property when they’re wrong is what keeps them from willy-nilly destruction of property just because it’s marijuana. It holds law enforcement accountable.
Rep. Conti and law enforcement won’t be happy until every marijuana plant in the state is accounted for, regulated and locked away with fines and criminal penalties attached.
That is NOT legalization! That is NOT what the voters wanted!
This bill is up for hearing by the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday at 1:30 in Room 0112 of the Capitol. Time to call and email the Committee, asking them to oppose HB1214. If a member of the committee is your representative, be sure to remind them that you are a constituent in their district. Show up at the hearing and voice your opposition!
House Judiciary Committee 2016
— Rx MaryJane (Teri Robnett)
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