CO: Time To Create A Regulated Marijuana Delivery System

Photo Credit: Trevor Hughes

As a former deputy marshal of the Town of Holly, Colorado — in the nation’s first state to legalize adult-use cannabis consumption — I believe that enacting a regulated marijuana delivery system for our state’s cannabis marketplace is a sensible, common-sense move at this point.

I firmly support efforts by state Reps. Jovan Melton, Jonathan Singer and Senator Tim Neville to create a pilot program to regulate the delivery of marijuana under House Bill 1092, because as a law enforcement officer, I know how much we need a legitimate delivery system for the lawful and equitable operation of our state’s extensive cannabis market.

HB 1092 would enable the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) to enter into an agreement with up to three municipalities to allow medical and retail marijuana delivery in their jurisdictions. And in doing so, this bill would create a regulated pathway for delivering marijuana to individuals at a specific address whose age and identity information have been verified.

Why? Because when done correctly, legal delivery helps law enforcement, provides needed tax revenue, discourages illegal markets, and reduces the risk of drugged driving.

Legal delivery would provide a public safety solution to prevent the many illegal deliveries currently being conducted through numerous internet sites, thus reducing the burden on law enforcement throughout the state. By converting illicit market purchases into licensed, traceable, legal-market transactions and ensuring the accurate tax collection on delivered marijuana products, a regulated delivery system would benefit the taxpayer as well.

Another important aspect of creating a regulated system for marijuana delivery is to improve access for medical patients across the state, many of whom are home-bound, disabled or unable to drive, and currently struggle to obtain medical cannabis under current restrictions preventing home delivery.

HB 1092 would create a highly regulated system for lawful marijuana delivery services by enabling the MED to develop rules addressing qualifications and eligibility for those applying for delivery licenses; training of delivery personnel; security for processing orders; proper record keeping and inventory tracking; limits on delivery amounts; packaging, health and safety requirements for deliveries; and proof of medical registration, identification and age verification.

This bill gives MED broad authority to determine how transactions are conducted, enabling regulators to enact mandatory safeguards in the delivery system that help ensure secure customer, driver, and community safety. When we allow MED this authority, we maintain the flexibility in the program required to respond to federal law.

Marijuana is already being safely transported around Colorado everyday, from cultivation facilities to processors and retailers. Moreover, we allow the legal delivery of alcohol with verification of age and identity and enabling secure marijuana delivery to customers would be a natural extension of these existing delivery systems, rather than an entirely new proposition.

Although Colorado led the country in regulating cannabis for adult use, we still lag behind other regulated states when it comes to our system for marijuana delivery — a key aspect of any regulated marketplace. By enabling a safe, regulated system for marijuana delivery, Colorado would join states like California, New York, Florida, and Oregon, which have already enacted similar sensible legislation.

Amendment 64, which legalized regulated cannabis sales for adults 21 and older in Colorado, doesn’t prohibit marijuana delivery to customers. It just simply didn’t create the infrastructure to enable such delivery services. It’s now time to close this regulatory gap and seize the public safety, public health, logistical and financial benefits that go hand-in-hand with a safe and fully regulated system for marijuana delivery.