DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado’s medical marijuana industry has come under fire as the state’s police chiefs rip the regulations in place and say the situation is out of control.
They say laws can be broken daily and the situation is making Colorado a national leader in the illegal marijuana trade. They put the blame squarely on the state leaders who made the rules. CBS4 found the book of regulations still has blank pages.
Medical marijuana regulation rules were supposed to be completed by the summer of 2011, but even today there are entire chapters that have never been written. That’s why the group of police chiefs and drug investigators are now appealing to Gov. John Hickenlooper to intervene.
“We have some deficiencies in what’s being tagged as great framework for regulation, and it’s not happening,” Ernest Martinez said in the letter to Hickenlooper.
Martinez is one of the authors of the letter. He says it is a plea to the governor and others to spell out the rules and step up the staffing from the Department of Revenue. As it stands, officers don’t know what to enforce.
“Law enforcement officers have no base of reference to go to, so there’s no understanding on how these rules are supposed to be carried out,” Cmdr. Jerry Peters with the North Metro Task Force said.
Peters says the lack of regulation allows pot to flourish on the black market and to fall into the wrong hands, including children’s.
“Colorado is touted as this heavy-regulated medical marijuana program state that everybody else should follow, and one of the big things that we’re running into is that it’s not,” Peters said.
Brian Vicente of Sensible Colorado calls those concerns fear-mongering.
“I think we’re seeing reefer madness propaganda. I think the law enforcement is attempting to scare people into changing our marijuana laws, which are working quite well,” Vicente said.
He believes the timing is suspiciously close to Election Day when voters will decide whether to decriminalize marijuana in Colorado.
“I think it’s 100 percent politically motivated,” Vicente said.
Martinez says Amendment 64 would only compound their struggles. But he says the purpose of the letter was simply about the safety of Colorado citizens.
“Safe communities are important at any time of the year,” Martinez said.
The letter was sent out Friday. The Department of Revenue said they will review the information and are willing to meet anytime.