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Published
May 17, 2024

Colorado Dispensaries Allowed to Carry Non Infused Snacks, Soft Drinks and Sweets

Lawmakers have passed a bill that would significantly change industry regulations.

State legislators only considered a few bills related to cannabis this year, but the one they passed, Senate Bill 24-076, would have wide-ranging effects. Dispensaries would be allowed to sell non-infused items for consumption, such as snacks, soft drinks and candy (but not tobacco), as long as they don't exceed 20 percent of the store's overall sales. The bill would also open up Colorado marijuana growers to more plant-breeding opportunities and streamline a handful of licensing and production processes.

"This is a great example of the state finally regulating marijuana like alcohol," says Marijuana Industry Group executive director Truman Bradley. "The ability to sell food and drink in a dispensary is something that customers have been asking for since dispensaries became legal. Nothing in this bill is going to wildly change the fortunes of the cannabis industry, but these are small and important steps toward right-sizing bloated regulations."

Governor Jared Polis hasn't yet signed the bill, but he's expected to.

A late amendment to the measure tightens the state definition of a social marijuana licensee in qualification areas connected to income and past arrests. The original bill was also stripped of several parts that would have further loosened commercial marijuana activity, including rules around testing for aspergillus, a specific kind of mold, and reduced testing allowances for growers.

"The bill has changed dramatically from when it was introduced to what passed. Part of that is just the political process," Bradley says.

Bradley's organization, one of the state's largest marijuana trade groups, was a driving factor behind the bill. Although he wishes more of its original language remained, Bradley believes the positive outcome will still help Colorado's struggling marijuana industry, and that SB 76 lays the groundwork "for much bigger changes that are absolutely critical."

Other language in the bill would allow marijuana growers to sell seeds, clones and genetic material with less than 0.3 percent THC to "authorized' consumers in and outside of Colorado. The practice was acknowledged as federally legal in a 2022 memo from the Drug Enforcement Administration, which considers immature cannabis plants as industrial hemp, but is still illegal for licensed growers in Colorado, where all new genetic marijuana material must be entered into a tracking system and cannot technically come from other states.

Source: Westword.com

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