Colorado House endorses bill to protect pot industry

After days of debate, lawmakers were able to get to a vote on the legislation as a result of a bipartisan amendment that the Senate adopted late in the evening on Wednesday.

The budget bill, known as "the big bill", along with the "yield bill", which sets the property tax rates, and the miscellaneous tax bill are all headed to committees of conference where three members of the House and three members of the Senate must find a way to reconcile those differences. It has wide support, and is expected to pass the House and get Republican Gov. Phil Scott's approval.

Sen. Judy Warnick, R- Moses Lake, called it a simple bill that will allow landowners to drill domestic wells without taking away senior water rights. Tim Neville of Littleton and John Cooke of Greeley.

"It doesn't poll well".

Industry is calling it a significant tax increase.

After year six, the gas tax would be indexed for inflation, not to exceed 2% per year; but the bill suspends indexing if the State's motor fuel is higher than a bordering Georgia or North Carolina county. The Senate has already approved it. Lawmakers, bombarded by advocates on both side of the issue, are often relieved when medical marijuana lobbyists come into their offices pitching anything but expansion. But, he added, "at the end of the week, we're going to have a bill". The amendment keeps the break for those now getting the annual $3 plate, until the vehicle is sold and the new owner would pay the higher fee. That figure would rise to about $550 million in the subsequent fiscal year. The bill was actually more restrictive than the laws in place before Floridians legalized medical cannabis.

Rep. Ray Rodrigues' bill (HB 1397) - approved 105-9 - would increase patient access to cannabis but supporters of Amendment 2, which legalized medical marijuana past year, say that even more needs to be done. "Our goal from the beginning is to provide accurate information so people can make data-informed decisions". ". It diminishes and therefore doesn't give due weight to the real pain this bill in its current form, even as amended, would inflict".


He said that in a $26.8 billion budget that's growing every year, legislators are spending less on roads than they were 10 years ago. "It's hard to be the guys who have to prioritize spending, but I believe that's why you're elected to make those decision".

But House Majority Ray Rodigues, the sponsor of his chamber's bill, noted that marijuana is still an illegal Schedule 1 drug in the eyes of the federal government.

Taylor Patrick Biehl of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida said Rodrigues' bill has improved dramatically but hopes that it includes a diversity plan for minority and veteran participation that is in the Senate bill. He told a Senate Finance committee that he is leaving the state.

But he explains the House and Senate are still at odds over capping the number of storefronts a license holder can establish. "For that reason, among others, I oppose this".

"Borrowing from ourselves in not a solution", said Conservation Colorado's Sophia Guerrero-Murphy.

"This bill is not a temporary disability bill", Till said. "That's reflected in the final cost of the bill in a big way".


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