Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) signed two bills today that will make it easier for facilities cultivating cannabis to do business.
The first bill contains a provision allowing marijuana cultivators to implement a contingency plan in case of adverse weather conditions, in order to minimize damage to crops. Starting January 1, 2022, facilities will be able to file these contingency plans with their local licensing authorities for approval.
The bill, HB21-1301 “Cannabis Outdoor Cultivation Measures,” also establishes plans to create two working groups in the next two years, both of which will convene by November of this year. The first group, run by the commissioner of agriculture, will develop recommendations on how cultivators can reduce cross-pollination.
Cross-pollination between cannabis and hemp has been a budding problem in both industries; it can raise hemp’s THC levels above the legal maximum, usually meaning the crop must be destroyed. As for cannabis, cross-pollination can drastically reduce yield.
The second group will examine existing rules and tax laws regarding Colorado’s marijuana industry. It will explore potential changes to the system that would allow local businesses to compete on a national scale if marijuana is legalized under federal law.
State Rep. Richard Holtorf (R-Akron) is one of the sponsors of the bill, which passed through the House and Senate with bipartisan support.
“Hemp and cannabis are a growing industry in Southern Colorado,” said Holtorf. “This bill is extremely important to the southernmost counties of House District 64, where hemp and cannabis are major parts of the economy.”
The second bill allows facilities cultivating medical marijuana to legally change their marijuana’s designation from retail to legal. This will allow such facilities to avoid paying a retail marijuana excise tax on their products; however, any tax paid prior to this change will not be refunded.
The bill, HB21-1216 “Marijuana Licensees Ability To Change Designation,” will take effect on July 1, 2022, just over a year after its passage.
During his tenure as governor, Polis has made it his mission to champion the cannabis industry. His Governor’s Dashboard, unveiled in 2019, lists innovative cannabis policy as a “Wildly Important Priority.”
“Colorado’s cannabis industry is thriving. We’ve driven most of the criminal element out of cannabis. We’ve generated good jobs,” said Polis in an interview with High Times last year. “We’ve increased quality for consumers, generated tax revenue for our schools. It’s really been a great success in Colorado and, frankly, the only thing holding it back from even more success is the federal government getting out of the way.”