Audit critical of marijuana enforcement division throws rulemaking into chaos

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DENVER — Lawmakers were up early Thursday morning, casting a symbolic series of votes on how Colorado should proceed with the implementation of Amendment 64, which legalizes marijuana in the state.

Some also took the opportunity to lambast the Department of Revenue for an audit released Tuesday that found the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division, which could transition into oversight of all marijuana regulations, had been ineffective and wasteful with its spending.

Lawmakers, who concurred with most recommendations of the state’s Amendment 64 task force, voted against the proposal to adopt the state-run model and to create a new Marijuana Enforcement Division.

“It’s tough for me to vote to give them one ounce more of regulatory responsibility,” said Rep. Brian DelGrosso, R-Loveland, referring to the audit that found rampant spending on expensive office chairs and vehicles for committee members.

The Capitol’s Joint Select Committee on the Implementation of Amendment 64 made recommendations on 24 of the 57 recommendations from the task force’s final report last week, concurring with all but three.

Lawmakers also voted not to support House Bill 1114, which would impose a new criminal statute for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs.

The ad-hoc committee of House and Senate lawmakers is simply making a round of suggestions. A bill to regulate marijuana may be introduced next week.

The recommendations cover everything from packaging and labeling to potency testing and advertising restrictions; on those subjects, lawmakers agreed with the task forces’s recommendations.

Lawmakers will also weigh in on a 15 percent excise tax on pot, plus additional sales taxes.

The committee plans to meet again Monday.

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