The Associated Press takes a look at marijuana issues ahead in Colorado and Washington, where recreational pot has been legalized. A group of marijuana activists want another vote in Colorado to loosen restrictions on who can have pot. A proposed ballot measure would end criminal penalties for cannabis possession. If approved, the measure would effectively discard Colorado’s 1-ounce possession limit and 21-and-over restriction. Another group of pot activists – longtime users with medical permission to use the drug – are unhappy. A patient-advocacy group has asked the legislature to create “Cannabis Patient Fund” to provide subsidies for some 120,000 Coloradans on a list of approved medical pot users.
The group is alarmed over escalating pot prices, which aren’t regulated by the state and have more than doubled in retail shops since Jan. 1, when recreational sales began. Washington has a curious economic problem as it prepares for retail pot sales: too many growers and shops. More than 2,600 applications have been submitted to produce pot. That’s a problem because officials are, at least initially, capping total production at 2 million square feet, or about 46 acres. They’re seeing too many would-be retailers, too. In Seattle, where the state has allotted 21 pot shops, there have been 408 retail license applications. Internet rumors of people using food stamps to buy edible pot appear to be urban legends. Colorado Republicans want to make sure they stay that way. Several Republicans would add marijuana dispensaries to liquor stores, gun shops and casinos as places where recipients of public assistance payments and food stamps can’t use their electronic benefits cards to access cash.