DENVER (CBS4) – The state says nearly 100 medical marijuana dispensaries are believed to be violating Colorado’s new law. That figure represents about 12 percent of the 800 dispensaries that have applied for licenses.
Agents from the new Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division fanned out across the state over the weekend in an effort to keep a handle on the new law that was passed last legislative session.
The law requires dispensaries to produce at least 70 percent of the marijuana they sell. That’s to control the amount of the medical marijuana grown in the state.
Matt Cook is the senior director of enforcement for the state revenue department.
“We went around to the centers that we’ve identified that have failed to certify that they are growing 70 percent of the medical marijuana for the business,” Cook said.
Cook said those found not in compliance face administrative action, including possible closure.
“If they don’t have a grow operation at this point they are selling medicine they probably acquired from illicit sources,” he said. “That’s a huge concern from a regulatory perspective and absolutely we’ll take immediate action against those types of businesses.”
On Monday state regulators met with representatives of the medical marijuana industry to discuss the law and new regulations. They will include seed-to-sale tracking of the marijuana, including video surveillance and guidelines for the production of the plants that are safe to use.
“Those people that intentionally evade the rules as written do so with some sort of sanction or consequence,” said Norton Arbelaez, Medical Marijuna Industry Group Chairman. “There are a lot of business owners that have invested a lot of money in order to really play by the rules.”
While marijuana centers must grow 70 percent themselves, the other 30 percent can only come from other licensed dispensaries now called centers.
There will be public hearings on the regulations early next year. The list of those believed to operating in violation of the law is not being released.
The state health department says the number of medical marijuana patients is now about 116,000 — meaning about 2 in 100 Coloradans holds a card.