Colo. task force proposes marijuana purchasing limits below 1 ounce allowed under Amendment 64

DENVER - Marijuana consumers in Colorado could be in store for purchasing limits well below what they're allowed to have under Amendment 64.

Gov. John Hickenlooper's task force set up to help regulate recreational weed in Colorado agreed Monday to recommend marijuana purchasing caps.

Adults over 21 in Colorado are allowed to possess up to 1 ounce of weed and to grow up to six marijuana plants under Amendment 64, the constitutional amendment passed by Colorado voters last fall.

But the task force recommended that a single transaction at a pot shop should be capped at an amount lower than 1 ounce.

Regulators did not agree what the smaller cap should be, punting that decision to the state Legislature, which will ultimately decide all of Colorado's marijuana rules.

The task force is made up of lawmakers, law enforcement and marijuana advocates.

The task force also agreed marijuana potency won't be limited -- but consumers should know how strong pot is before they buy it. So, the group recommended potency labels that include the relative amount of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in pot.

"The idea is to warn people about the hazards of ingesting marijuana," said Jack Finlaw, the co-chair of the task force. "A big change in packaging is that all marijuana products, including things that can be smoked as well as the edibles will have to be in child-proof, tamper-proof packaging."

Finlaw said the recommendations are just a first step, and that the mechanics of safety testing will be left to the legislature and the Department of Revenue, after the task force could not reach an agreement.

"I think there was a general consensus that we need safety testing, but since it's not been done before we don't have the knowledge about what kind of labs are needed and what testing needs to be done," said Finlaw.

The task force is also debating consumer safety regulations including pesticide limits and how to label edible marijuana to prevent accidental overdoses.

Last week, a working group and the overall task force decided to recommend that Colorado not enact a residency requirement for the purchase or use of recreational marijuana, which would result in the green light for so-called "pot tourism." The group did recommend considering limiting the amount of marijuana out-of-state residents could purchase and restricting retail licenses for stores located near the state’s borders.

Another recommendation contained in the handout from February 20 would require applicants for marijuana retail business licenses be a resident for two years prior to their application.

The task force doesn't make rules, but does submit recommendations to the governor and the legislature.

The task force has less than a month to forward all its proposals to lawmakers.

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