The state agency overseeing Colorado’s historic experiment in marijuana legalization is adding enforcement agents, data analysis and undercover operatives — steps officials say will help them better hold businesses accountable, reports the Denver Post. Last year, a state audit criticized the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division for failing to track marijuana as promised, managing its budget poorly and not clearly defining its role.
More stable funding from application and licensing fees has what is now the Marijuana Enforcement Division on stronger financial footing. The agency has a new director, its third in under four years, and finally has cleared a backlog of medical marijuana license applications that dated to mid-2010. Still, some industry officials wonder whether the agency is equipped to deal with challenges that lie ahead, including more new business applications and enforcement of product testing. By the end of the fiscal year, in June, the division says it expects to employ between 50 and 55 people, up from about 30 now. “They are really going to staff this, put boots on the ground,” said Jeff Gard, a Boulder lawyer who represents marijuana businesses. “If you have been getting away with stuff because the state was underfunded, you may find yourself not only out of business but in jail.”