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Colorado Senate Gets to Pot Bill After Fed Warning

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DENVER -- Colorado lawmakers are taking up marijuana regulation proposals for the first time since receiving a federal warning about state pot laws.

The Senate Finance Committee planned to start work on a medical marijuana bill Monday that changes rules for how the drug can be grown and sold. Last week, the top federal prosecutor in Colorado sent a letter to legislators saying pot regulations could put state employees at risk of federal prosecution.

Lawmakers from both parties have said they intend to move ahead with this year's bill, which addresses who can work at dispensaries and changes other regulations. The bill was up for review before the federal warning.

The letter from John Walsh, the top federal prosecutor in Colorado, closely resembled warnings sent by federal prosecutors in California, Washington and Montana - which are among 15 states that have legalized medical marijuana.

The notification warns that states shouldn't pass bills that appear to authorize medical marijuana businesses because the drug is still illegal under federal law.

Colorado's marijuana regulations - set to take effect this summer - mandate who can register to sell or grow the drug. The rules also give state regulators seed-to-sale tracking of the drug.

The bill currently up for debate would add new regulations for makers of cannabis-infused food, such as pot brownies, among other changes.

Walsh told Colorado officials that federal prosecutors do not intend to go after "seriously ill individuals who use marijuana." However, Walsh said, the federal government won't ignore the manufacture and distribution of pot, even if such activities are permitted under state law.

Democratic Sen. Pat Steadman rejected the federal warning, saying "it's just the federal government being clumsy and heavy-handed."

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: forbes.com
Author: Steven K. Paulson
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Forbes.com LLC
Website: Colorado Senate gets to pot bill after fed warning
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