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Dispensaries Struggle With State’s New ’70-30′ Law

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William Yang, owner of Lincoln Herbal, shows a CBS4 crew the marijuana growing in the back of his dispensary. (credit: CBS)

William Yang, owner of Lincoln Herbal, shows a CBS4 crew the marijuana growing in the back of his dispensary. (credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) - As the state of Colorado tries to get a better hold on the medical marijuana business they are clamping down on dispensaries that don’t do the majority of their growing in their facilities.

A total of 91 medical marijuana centers recently received letters from the state notifying them that they are in violation of a new law. That’s more than 10 percent of the 818 dispensaries that have applied for licenses.

The law requires each business to certify it is growing at least 70 percent of the medical marijuana used in its operation. According to the law, the other 30 percent of the product can only be purchased from other dispensaries.

The rules are intended to help the state track where all the marijuana is going.

“What we asked for was that 100 percent of the marijuana grown would be only for the one particular point of distribution,” said Sgt. Jim Gerhardt of the Colorado Drug Investigators Association. “That way you’d always know how many patients were being served and how much product was supposed to be going out the door.”

Medical marijuana attorney Robert Corry is among those who are opposed to the law.

“The 70 and 30 percent rule is ridiculous. There is no other business on the face of the planet that is required to produce 70 percent of their own retail product,” Corry said.

Through an open records request CBS4 obtained the list of dispensaries found to be in violation. Lincoln Herbal in Denver was among those. When CBS4 visited the dispensary owner William Yang offered to give a tour and insisted he is in compliance.

“They mean we can’t buy from the underground no more,” he told CBS4.

The owner of Rocky Mountain Medical Marijuana in Lakewood told CBS4 his operation provides only marijuana it grows on its property. He told CBS4 the letter he got and his store’s position among the list of violators was due to a paperwork problem.

The consequences of violating the 70 percent law range from a fine to denial of application for a license. The state could also shut down the operation.

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