'Pot tourism' would be allowed under Amendment 64 task force recommendations

Purchase limits for non-residents suggested

DENVER - The Amendment 64 Task Force has recommended 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 task force's regulatory framework working group made the recommendation based on two primary reasons.

The first came from the text of the voter-approved amendment itself, which refers to eligible consumers as those over the age of 21 who can present a "government-issued" form of identification. It does not include any explicit reference to residency.

The second line of reasoning in the task force's recommendation suggested that a residency requirement would create black market for recreational marijuana.

"It is clear that under current state law out-of-state residents may possess less than an ounce of marijuana without penalty. Forbidding those from out-of-state from purchasing the marijuana that they may lawfully possess in Colorado would thus encourage straw purchases and unauthorized resale to out-of-state residents," the task force wrote.

The written recommendation said the chief concern on the other side of the debate was that recreation sales to out-of-state residents could attract greater federal scrutiny and "the displeasure of our neighboring states."

In light of those concerns, the task force suggested providing reminders at the time of purchase that out-of-state consumers cannot carry their marijuana across state lines, posting signs at airports and near borders with the same information and coordinating with neighboring states. They also wrote about discussing a restriction on marijuana retail licenses for stores located near the state’s borders.

The task force also considered the relatively low price of marijuana in Colorado as a possible incentive for drug traffickers to visit several future recreational marijuana stores to gather the drug for illegal export to other states. They suggested possibly limiting the amount of pot that could be sold to out-of-state residents to discourage that kind of behavior.

"If a limit of, for example, an 1/8 of an ounce was placed on sales to non-Coloradans the same trafficker would have to visit more than 100 stores to compile a pound of marijuana. An 1/8 of marijuana can produce between 5 and 10 'joints.' This dramatically shifts the incentive away from visiting Colorado to purchase marijuana and attempt to profit by selling in another state," the task force wrote.

Another recommendation contained in the document would applicants for marijuana retail business licenses be a resident for two years prior to their application.