Colorado is taking a stand against black market cannabis. The state that’s been home to America’s most successful recreational marijuana market also houses a huge number of black market grow-ops using the state’s lenient laws to make piles of profit shipping weed to states still stuck in prohibition. Colorado regulators hope that will change soon, with new laws on home grows and millions in state funds now allocated to fight the cannabis criminal element.
According to The Cannabist, Governor John Hickenlooper signed two bills this week aimed at curbing Colorado’s cannabis black market, reducing the allowed number of home grown plants to 12 per-residence and diverting $6 million of the state’s cannabis tax funds towards cracking down on black market business.
“We know for a fact that people are pretending to grow medical marijuana and then exporting it to other states — not one, not two, many,” Hickenlooper told The Cannabist. “So we’re trying to tighten that loophole up.”
Before Hickenlooper signed the home-grow reduction, or House Bill 1220, state law allowed medical marijuana patients to grow up to 99 plants in their homes, the largest number in any state with grow-at-home regulations.
“So by setting a limit of 12 plants per home, I think we’re protecting neighborhoods from violence often associated with illegal drug trafficking,” Hickenlooper said.
In an attempt to stem the tide of illegal grows and out-of-state sales even further, Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1221, taking tax from legal cannabis sales to fund the Gray and Black Market Cannabis Enforcement Grant Program, which will allocate funds to local governments to help in the fight against illegal weed.
“The whole point of legalizing marijuana is you don’t continue to have a black market,” Hickenlooper said.