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The Colorado Marijuana Experience 9/27/2021

The Colorado Marijuana Experience 9/27/2021

Officer Jim Lenderts, Ft. Collins CO Marijauna Enforcement Officer

The Cannabis Cops, LLC


Colorado tracks all marijuana from “seed to sale”. Every plant has a tag that goes to the state. Growers have to report the weight of all plant products. The state labs track/monitor what any given license grows/harvests. Everything is weighed and documented and all sales must reflect what is grown, if less is sold than grown that triggers law enforcement checks,

Every unit of sale has a THC label to identify that it is a THC product.

History of legal marijuana in Colorado:

  • 2000 - medical marijuana passed, individuals/patients/caregivers allowed to grow up to 6 plants for personal use.

  • 2012 - Retail recreational marijuana passed with must be 21 to purchase. Must show ID/proof of age to get in the door.

  • Colorado legalized marijuana with a ballot initiative brought by the marijuana industry. “Law enforcement community let the industry write the amendments because Law Enforcement took a hard stance against legalization and therefore did not have any say in the amendments. It’s important that other states have a say in all amendments at the ballot initiative or legislative level in order to have strict youth prevention provisions.”. “Partnering with industry to write good laws and policies is better than having no seat at the table”. “Sit down at the table and navigate intent, navigate unintended consequences”.

  • Every city in Colorado is an “opt out” city in regards to having marijuana dispensaries until/unless they decide to “opt in” by municipal ordinance.

  • Licensed THC has a lot #, a store #, and a date of purchase.

  • Video cameras are required in all grow facilities and stores. Video footage must be turned over to LE upin request. Video cameras are required by law to have a battery backup to prevent excuses for missing footage.

  • Individuals may only use THC at home and indoors, not legal to use in parks or in public. Cannot vape THC in public places. Vaping does not have the identifiable smell of THC.

  • Purchases are limited to 1 oz per day. There is an internet system that tracks purchases from individual stores but the system does not communicate with other stores like a prescription drug monitoring program.

  • All product has to be tested for mold, concentrate potency, and heavy metals.

  • Medical marijuana: There is a statewide database for medical marijuana. Youth are required to have 2 doctor’s signatures to be able to purchase medical marijuana, parents are required by law to keep the card. Medical marijuana is used often for seizures. Medical marijuana is high in CBD, low in THC. Colorado just passed a law limiting the amount that 18 - 21 y/o can purchase.

  • In 2013 the US Attorney General (federal Department of Justice) outlined priorities for the feds with states that have legalized marijuana:

    • Prevent distribution to minors

    • Prevent marijuana money from getting to gangs and cartels with background checks on all growers

    • Prevent authorized businesses from being covers for illegal operations

    • Prevent violence

    • Prevent drugged driving and public health consequences

Officer Lenderts reported he has worked hard to build partnerships with growers/stores. Having compliant stores and business owners prevents youth from getting hands on THC.

Officer Lenderts reported that LE holds quarterly meetings with all growers to do trainings on fake ID’s, etc. They tell store owners “we will be testing you for compliance on all regulations and selling to minors. In 2016 30% of owners failed the compliance checks when cops sent minors in to buy THC. Fines for non-compliance (selling to minors) were $10,000. And the seller gets fired.

In 2019 and 2020 there were no failed compliance tests in Ft. Collins. Officer Lenderts reported no uptick in gang activity in Ft. Collins.

Who is purchasing THC in Colorado? All ages, as many older people as young. Older people have more disposable income to be able to purchase. THC has known benefits for orthopedic injuries and joint pain for older people.

LE message: If you’re going to purchase THC, purchase from a store where there are potency labels.

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