State looking for measures to protect marijuana industry

Cole Sullivan, Writer

Colorado State legislation is talking about taking protective measures to ensure that the pot industry will be protected if there is a crackdown by the Trump administration and the federal government.

President Trump has said he is ok with medical marijuana, but is against recreational use.  Colorado is risking hundreds of millions of dollars in tax collections if the federal government does crack down on recreational pot.  A bill is pending in the state legislature that would allow growers and distributors of pot to reclassify recreational pot as medical pot if a change in federal law or enforcement occurs.  It is an attempt by a U.S. marijuana state to avoid federal intervention in the weed market.

The bill would allow the licensed recreational pot growers to instantly reclassify their weed as medical.  According to The Cannabis, this type of switch would cost the state over $100 million a year because Colorado taxes medical 2.9% while they tax recreational pot 17.9%.  This bill will not take recreational marijuana off the books or convert it all too medical.  It would protect the inventory that is labeled recreational on the chance that the federal government came to seize it.  “If there is a change in federal law, then I think all of our businesses want to stay in business somehow.  They’ve made major investments,” said Sen. Tim Neville, a suburban Republican from Denver who sponsored the bill.

The cost of the tax change would hurt the projects funded by recreational weed taxes.  $40 million a year was sent to a school-construction fund from the money.  Other programs that are funded by recreational pot taxes include a public education campaign to reduce teen marijuana use, police training on identifying stoned drivers, and funding for medical studies on marijuana’s medical effectiveness.