State marijuana officials can now ban, destroy cannabis deemed hazardous

Matt Whittaker

By Matt Whittaker / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill Thursday giving marijuana enforcement officials authority to ban the sale of and destroy marijuana that presents a risk to public health and safety, aligning the state’s marijuana rules with those that already exist for food products.

The bill gives the Department of Revenue authority to embargo medical or retail marijuana when the Marijuana Enforcement Division believes public health and safety requires emergency action.

Referred to as the “Embargo and Destroy Marijuana” act, the bill also allows the department to destroy that marijuana after notice and opportunity for a hearing.

One of the sponsors of the bill, Rep. Marc Snyder, said the bill brings marijuana rules into alignment with the Department of Public Health and Environment’s existing authority over food products. 

The Department of Revenue already has the authority to issue administrative holds on regulated marijuana pending investigations, and it manages about 50 product safety cases each year, according to a fiscal note accompanying the bill, which doesn’t allocate any funds for the changes.

Starting with the state’s fiscal year that begins in July, the bill might increase the workload for the Department of Revenue, Department of Law and Department of Public Health and Environment, the note said.

“This workload consists of rulemaking, as well as potential administrative hearings and destruction of marijuana,” the note said. “Based on the relatively low occurrence of product safety cases, this workload increase is expected to be minimal and absorbable within existing resources.”

Truman Bradley, executive director with the Wheat Ridge-based Marijuana Industry Group, said he doesn’t expect the bill will result in substantive changes for Colorado’s marijuana industry.

“Despite the scary name, it’s just a cleanup bill,” he said.

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Matt Whittaker writes about natural resources industries, including oil and gas, mining, renewable energy, agriculture and cannabis. He's been based in the Denver metro area since 2013. You can follow him on Twitter @mattswhittaker.

Lakewood, CO

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