With medical marijuana gaining in popularity across the U.S. and several marijuana initiatives passing in 2016, the marijuana industry is expected to continue to grow in 2017. Colorado State Senate Bill 14, which passed in May of 2015 and became effective on January 1, 2017, limits medical marijuana caregivers to only grow a total of 99 plants for a maximum of five patients. This measure is cause for concern for some. Roger Martin, Founder of Grow for Vets USA stated that Senate Bill 14 will force medical marijuana patients to purchase their medical cannabis from the retail market, so that the state can generate tax revenue from these sales.
Caregivers who grow more than 36 plants are also required to register their grow location as a result of Senate Bill 14, as well as their patient numbers and any extended plant counts. Martin states one factor that is not taken into account under the new regulations is the fact that certain patients require more than one type of medical marijuana to adequately address their medical needs. “It has a direct impact on how much medical cannabis a patient can get and it may or may not be sufficient to take care of their medical needs,” Martin said. According to law officers, a number of huge grow operations aren’t legitimate and are disguising themselves as caregiver outlets. Enforcement could definitely be on the rise in the near future, with more scrutiny regarding caregiver licenses.
In California, where voters legalized recreational marijuana by passing Proposition 64, big changes in enforcement may be on the way. The state will issue licenses to growers, distributors, and sellers, who will be required to adhere to certain rules and regulations. For instance, distributors will have to disclose exactly what is in their product with labels that will closely resemble nutrition labels currently required on food products.