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KUNC is a member of Capitol Coverage, a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.

Two New Laws Take Aim At Black Market Marijuana In Colorado

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Bente Birkeland
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Capitol Coverage
Gov. John Hickenlooper signing House Bill 1220 and 1221 , which target large-scale, non-commercial marijuana grows.

Colorado is ramping up efforts to try and prevent marijuana from being diverted to the black market. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed two bi-partisan bills into law Thursday.
 
"I think we’re protecting neighborhoods from the violence often associated with organized crime," said Hickenlooper. "We’re no longer the Wild West. I don’t think it’s good for Colorado to have the loosest laws."

 
The goal is to crack down on large-scale, non-commercial marijuana grows. State law had allowed medical marijuana patients to grow up to 99 plants if a physician agreed. Recreational users could also have other people grow their plants.
 
Under one of the new laws, people are limited to 12 plants per residence unless a local government approves more.  
 
Another new law says only caregivers can grow plants for other people. It also sets up a grant program to reimburse police for enforcing and prosecuting crimes involving marijuana intended for the black market. About $6 million is set aside for the grants and rural areas will get priority for receiving them.
 
Capitol Coverage is a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.

Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for KUNC and Rocky Mountain Community Radio since 2006. Originally, from Minnesota, Bente likes to hike and ski in her spare time. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May.
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