Colorado medical marijuana dispensaries will be required to limit patients’ purchases of cannabis concentrates and younger patients will have less access to MMJ under a new state law.
The law is focused on evaluating the effect of “high-potency THC marijuana on the developing brain and mental health.” It goes into effect Jan. 1, 2022.
Patients will now be limited to 8 grams of concentrates per purchase, down from a previous limit of 40 grams. MMJ patients 18-20 years old will be capped at 2 grams per purchase, with some exceptions.
The bill requires the Colorado school of public health to do a systematic review of the scientific research related to the possible physical and mental health effects of high-potency THC marijuana and concentrates. The bill creates a scientific review council (council) to review the report and make recommendations to the general assembly. Based on the research and findings, the Colorado school of public health shall produce a public education campaign for the general public, to be approved by the council, regarding the effect of high-potency THC marijuana on the developing brain and mental health.
Current law requires a doctor to conduct a full assessment of the patient’s medical history when making a medical marijuana recommendation. The bill requires that assessment to include the patient’s mental health history. If the recommending physician is not the patient’s primary care physician, the bill directs the recommending physician to review the records of a diagnosing physician or licensed mental health provider. When a practitioner makes a medical marijuana authorization, the practitioner must certify that authorization to the department of public health and environment (department) . The bill requires the certification to include:
- The date of issue and the effective date of the recommendation;
- The patient’s name and address;
- The recommending physician’s name, address, and federal drug enforcement agency number;
- The maximum THC potency level of medical marijuana being recommended;
- The dosage form The recommended product, if any ;
- The daily authorized quantity, if the quantity exceeds the maximum statutorily allowed amount for the patient’s age ;
- Directions for use; and
- The recommending physician’s signature.
The bill prohibits a physician for charging an additional fee for recommending an extended plant count or making a recommendation related to an exception to a medical marijuana requirement. The bill directs the department to annually report on the number of physicians who made medical marijuana recommendations in the past year, how many recommendations each physician made, and the number of homebound patients ages 18 to 20 years old in the registry.
The bill imposes the following requirements on medical marijuana patients ages 18 to 20 years old:
- Two physicians from different medical practices have to diagnose the patient as having a debilitating or disabling medical condition after an in-person consultation;
- One of the physicians must explain the possible risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana to the patient;
- One physician must provide the patient with the written documentation specifying that the patient has been diagnosed with a debilitating or disabling medical condition and the physician has concluded that the patient might benefit from the medical use of marijuana; and
- The patient attends follow-up appointments every 6 months after the initial visit with one of the physicians unless the patient is homebound .
The bill requires the department of public health and environment (department) to create a report from emergency room and hospital discharge data of patients who presented with conditions or a diagnosis that reflect marijuana use and provide that report at the department’s annual “State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act” hearing.The bill directs the association representing coroners to establish a working group to study methods to test for the presence and quantity of THC in each case of a non-natural death and make recommendations by July 1, 2022. The recommendation must be reported to the house of representatives health and insurance committee and the senate health and human services committee, or their successor committees. Beginning January 1, 2021, the bill requires the coroner in each case of a suicide, overdose death, or accidental death non-natural death to order complete a toxicology screen. The coroner shall report the results of the toxicology screen to the Colorado violent death reporting system. The department then produces an annual report of the data beginning January 2, 2022, and annually each year thereafter.
The bill prohibits medical marijuana advertising that is specifically directed to those ages 18 to 20 years old and requires medical and retail marijuana concentrate advertising to include a warning regarding the risks of medical marijuana concentrate overconsumption.
A medical and retail marijuana store shall provide a notice at the time of sale regarding the criminal penalties associated with marijuana diversion. A medical marijuana store and retail marijuana store shall provide a patient with a pamphlet tangible education resource regarding the risks of overconsumption use of medical or retail marijuana concentrate when selling concentrate.
The bill requires medical marijuana stores to immediately record transactions in the seed-to-sale inventory tracking system to allow the system to:
- Continuously monitor entry of patient data to identify discrepancies with daily purchase limits and potency authorizations;
- Access and retrieve real-time sales data based on patient identification number; and
- Respond with a user error message if a sale to a patient or caregiver will exceed the patient’s allowed purchase limit for that business day or potency authorization.
The data collected is confidential and shall not be shared with anyone except when necessary to complete a sale.
The bill limits the amount of medical marijuana concentrate that a patient can purchase in one day to 8 grams, unless the patient is 18 to 20 years old then the limit is 2 grams, except in the case of a homebound patient, or if the patient’s certification states that the patient needs more than 8 grams or 2 grams respectively. The limit does not apply to medical marijuana patients if it would be a significant physical or geographic hardship for the patient to make a daily purchase or if the patient had a registry identification card prior to being 18 years old.Beginning January 1, 2023, the bill requires medical marijuana concentrate and retail marijuana concentrate to be sold in a package containing one gram separated into no less than 10 equal portioned amounts. The bill limits the amount of retail marijuana concentrate that a patient can purchase in one day to 8 grams.The bill appropriates $4 million from the marijuana tax cash fund to the department of higher education for use by the Colorado school of public health and any unexpended money from the appropriation is further appropriated to the department for the same purpose. The bill appropriates $460,227 to the department of public health and environment for use by the center for health and environmental information: $173,250 of the appropriation from the general fund and $286,977 from the medical marijuana program cash fund. The bill appropriates $255,167 from the marijuana cash tax fund to the department of revenue to implement the act. The bill appropriates $95,706 and allocates 0.5 FTE to the department of law from reappropriated funds from the department of revenue.
(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)2021a_1317_enr