Will new rules make it easier to get pot in Colorado?

Last week, federal government officials sent a warning to Colorado and other states that have legalized medical marijuana, saying those states cannot pass laws attempting to authorize or regulate medical marijuana because the drug is still illegal under federal law.

This week, Colorado lawmakers are at work trying to put together a bill addressing some of the concerns from the federal government.

If House Bill 1043 passes, a number of regulations on obtaining and growing marijuana for medical purposes will be loosened.

Right now, recently convicted felons and convicted drug felons cannot get licenses. If the bill passes, convicted felons would be able to apply, and only those convicted of a drug-related offense within the past five years would be ineligible.

In the past, anyone convicted of a drug-related offense, as well as anyone convicted of a felony within five years could not apply.

What does this mean for the way the drug is used? Does giving ex-cons easier access to marijuana mean the drug will be misused more, possibly falling into the wrong hands?

Current law states anyone trying to get a medical marijuana card has to fill out a residency requirements form, but the new bill narrows the application process to dispensary owners only. In addition, the two year residency law will be narrowed to owners only. This means anyone who isn’t a medical marijuana shop owner can get apply for a license as soon as they move to Colorado, rather than having to wait two years.

Does this mean more people will get the medical help they deserve sooner? Will people move to Colorado to take advantage of the immediacy of being able to obtain the drug?

The bill also allows medical marijuana centers to trade with one another at equal amounts and sell the traded pot, as long as that same pot isn’t traded again. In addition to trading, owners would be able to sell the marijuana at a discounted price or donate it to indigent patients. They can also sell clones in addition to medical marijuana and marijuana-infused products.

This in effect would take away the unfair business practice prohibition about selling below cost.

Is this a good thing for those who can’t afford it at regular price? Or is it just another way for those who don’t really need it to obtain it at a lower cost?

The bill also creates two new classes of medical marijuana licenses. They are:

– A primary caregiver cultivation license, which gives a primary caregiver who has received a waiver to serve more than five patients or who grows more than 30 plants at a time the authority to grow medical marijuana only for his or her patients or for the patients of another primary caregiver, if the licensee has been delegated authority over the patients.

– An infused-products manufacturing facility license, which allows a facility to be licensed for exclusive use by multiple infused-products manufacturers.

There are a number of other requirements that have been loosened. Any applicant who has not received a registration card can show the application and a photo instead. Primary caregivers can also delegate responsibilities to others, and physicians can apply to make medical marijuana recommendations.

What do you think? Is the federal government crackdown a good thing? Do you think it will be easier to get marijuana if the bill passes? Is this a step toward legalizing marijuana? Does any of this concern you? Join the conversation in our comment section below.