New law advances research, addresses diversion and helps educate consumers
DENVER, CO – Governor Jared Polis today signed legislation sponsored by Speaker Alec Garnett and Representative Yadira Caraveo, a pediatrician, that seeks to address youth access to high-potency cannabis products.
“Working with patients, doctors, parents, students, teachers and the marijuana industry, Colorado is leading the way in addressing youth access to high potency cannabis,” said Speaker Alec Garnett, D-Denver. “The reality is that it’s too easy for Colorado’s youth to access high potency mairjuana when they shouldn’t be able to, and we don’t have the full picture of how these products impact the developing brain. With Governor Polis’ signature today, it will be harder to divert products from the medical marketplace into the hands of our youth. This law will help educate consumers about high potency cannabis, and it will advance critical research that will give us a better understanding of how high potency products impact developing brains.”
“Doctors like myself, school-based providers and parents have all seen firsthand how some of our younger Coloradans have experienced health issues after consuming high-potency marijuana products,” said Rep. Yadira Caraveo, a pediatrician. “I’m proud that Governor Polis signed this critical law today, which will make a big difference by strengthening the doctor-patient relationship, cracking down on looping and diversion, advancing critical new research and better educating consumers on high-potency products while ensuring we protect patients’ access to medical marijuana.”
The law will advance research into the impact of high potency marijuana on the developing brain, address diversion of cannabis concentrates purchased in the medical marijuana marketplace and educate consumers about concentrates through visual representations of a recommended serving size and public awareness campaigns.
Advances Research: The law funds and advances critical research into the impact of high-potency cannabis concentrate products on the developing brain and on physical and mental health. It requires the Colorado School of Public Health to conduct a systematic review of the current scientific research into the effects of high-potency THC marijuana and concentrates and identify gaps in order to conduct new research. Under the law, a new scientific review council of doctors and experts will review the report and make recommendations to the General Assembly on appropriate evidence-based regulatory changes and the funding of additional necessary evidence-based research.
Addresses Diversion of High-Potency Products: The law cracks down on “looping” and diversion by reducing the amount of medical concentrates someone can purchase in a day and requiring the Marijuana Enforcement Division’s seed-to-sale tracking database, METRC, to update at the point of sale, instead of at the end of each business day. The data collected is confidential and cannot be shared with anyone except when necessary to complete a sale.
- Enhanced Doctor-Patient Relationship: The law adjusts medical marijuana recommending practices by requiring doctors to specify a daily quantity authorization if it is above the maximum allowed for the patient’s age and to consider a patient’s mental health history when making a cannabis recommendation. For patients ages 18-20, the law requires two physicians from different medical practices to diagnose the patient as having a debilitating or disabling medical condition after an in-person consultation, and the patient must attend a follow-up appointment every six months after the initial visit unless that patient is homebound.
- Real-Time Medical Marijuana Purchase Reporting: Through a practice known as “looping,” consumers can purchase the daily limit at multiple dispensaries, circumventing the limits and increasing youth access to high-potency cannabis products. The law will crack down on “looping” in the medical marketplace by requiring medical marijuana stores to immediately record transactions in the seed-to-sale inventory tracking system. This will allow the system to identify discrepancies with daily purchase limits, access and retrieve real-time sales data and alert medical mariuana stores if a sale to a patient has exceeded their daily purchase limit for that business day.
- Reduced Daily Purchase Amounts: The law will limit daily medical marijuana concentrate purchases to eight grams for patients 21 years and older and to two grams for patients between the age of 18 and 20. Patients who had a medical marijuana card before the age of 18, patients who are homebound, for whom a physician has recommended a higher daily authorization, or for patients for whom going to a medical marijuana store on a daily basis presents significant physical or geographical hardship are exempt from these new limits.
- Consumer Education and Protection: The law will help better educate consumers about high-potency THC marijuana and concentrates by tasking the Colorado School of Public Health with developing a public education campaign, requiring MED to create a tangible education resource on the potential risks of concentrates and that shows visual representations of a recommended serving size be included with every sale and by prohibiting advertisements targeted toward Colorado youth.