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MMJ Businesses Work To Correct Violations As Licensing Nears

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
As the Colorado Department of Revenue prepares to enact a slew of new rules for medical marijuana businesses on July 1, ongoing industry policing is weeding out those not meeting current regulations.

Top Shelf Alternative of Colorado Springs has closed as a result of non-compliance with the mandate that centers must grow 70 percent of all medical marijuana they sell, according to the state's Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division.

The division in December notified 91 centers out of 818 statewide that they were in violation of laws and in danger of being shut down, said Julie Postlethwait, division spokeswoman.

Dispensaries were to have been certified to grow the bulk of their stock by Sept. 1, 2010, as a result of legislation passed last year and now called the Colorado Medical Marijuana Code.

Sixteen of the 91 centers cited were in Colorado Springs; one was in Florissant.

All but six statewide made appointments with the Department of Revenue to discuss the situation and are working to obtain certification to stay in business, Postlethwait said. Top Shelf, which was at 825 N. Circle Drive, was among the six that did not call for an appointment.

"We are in the process of conducting site visits to the centers and cultivation sites involved," she said.

The centers also could face fines.

Another local center, Med-A-Grow, 202 N. Chelton Road, is being investigated for not having an application filed with the state and, therefore, is considered to be operating illegally, she said.

Local authorities raided another dispensary, Cannabis Therapy Center in unincorporated El Paso County, in December for not having the proper paperwork.

On March 30, the state Attorney General's Office and Legislative Legal Services passed the first set of rules for regulating the industry. They will take effect July 1, and amount to 73 pages covering the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of medical marijuana in an attempt to eliminate illicit activity. More regulations, including patient identification cards, are yet to come.

To help enforce the rules, satellite offices are being established in Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Fruita.

Postlethwait said her division is negotiating leases for the new offices and interviewing applicants to fill 25 inspector and four auditor positions to staff the sites.

The state has applications for licenses from 206 centers and infused product manufacturers in Colorado Springs, 11 in El Paso County and four in Teller County.

Statewide, there are about 2,000 industry-related businesses. Applications filed with the state include 818 centers, 237 infused product manufacturers and 1,200 growers, Postlethwait said.

The state will begin issuing licenses to those applicants on July 1 and is expected to lift a moratorium on new business applications then.

NewsHawk: Jim Behr: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Gazette, The (Colorado Springs, CO)
Copyright: 2011 The Gazette
Contact: Submit a Letter - Colorado Springs Gazette, CO
Website: Colorado Springs Gazette, CO
Details: MAP: Media Directory
Author: Debbie Kelley
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