Cannabis Business Alliance offers outlook for 2016

As Colorado marks the two-year anniversary of legalization for recreational marijuana, the cannabis industry predicts new milestones will be reached throughout the state, as well as nationwide.

"This year, the cannabis industry made great strides in protecting and educating the consumer," says Peggy Moore, chairwoman of the Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) and owner of Love's Oven, a Denver-based, small-batch cannabis bakery. "The industry heard early on after legalization for the adult-use market about concerns of unintended access, as well as overconsumption."

The CBA, an advocate and resource for business owners, employees, patients and clients of the marijuana industry, will continue to bring best practices to the industry and ensure that consumers are educated about cannabis consumption, Moore says.

"We take our role in ensuring public safety very seriously," she says. "The industry has embraced and furthered certified child-resistant packaging, safety warnings on labeling and product testing and will continue to promote this and other industry best practices in 2016."

As the industry evolves, the Cannabis Business Alliance offers an outlook for 2016:
  • Education and safety: The "Start Low, Go Slow" public education campaign on edibles will continue, and the industry will further education on cannabis consumption protocols and proper cannabis storage techniques to keep children safe.
  • Purchasing regulations: Purchasing limits will be a topic of discussion this year. A 2014 legislative bill called for a study to determine the equivalency of edibles and concentrates to the one ounce of marijuana purchase. Purchasing restrictions for out-of-state tourists also are up for discussion this year. Non-residents of Colorado are restricted to purchasing no more than a quarter of an ounce in a single transaction. Washington and Oregon don't have such restrictions for out-of-state consumers.
  • Stamping: The State Licensing Authority has proposed a universal symbol for medical and retail marijuana packaging and labeling, which is scheduled to go into effect Oct. 1. The law requires that packaging and edible cannabis-infused products be marked with the symbol. Legislation regarding the shape and character of edibles also is expected to be introduced this year.
  • Pest management: As more states legalize the production of cannabis, many cultivators are grappling with the issue of managing pests in an industry that has no federal oversight.
  • Retail rules: A Denver moratorium on new recreational stores, cultivation facilities and infused-product manufacturers expires on May 1, but city regulators are asking the City Council to extend the freeze for two more years to give them time to gauge the impact on the legal marijuana industry from a city management perspective.
  • Mainstream acceptance: Support for legalized cannabis continues to grow both in Colorado and nationwide.
  • Tourist influx: A recent Colorado Tourism Office study, which surveyed 3,254 tourists that vacationed in Colorado between April and September, revealed that 48 percent of visitors to Colorado were influenced by the legal marijuana industry.
The Marijuana Enforcement Division's first annual report released in 2014 showed that 4.8 million units were sold in the first year of recreational cannabis sales. By December 2014, the state had issued 833 retail licenses and 1,416 medical licenses.

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Margaret is a veteran Denver real estate reporter and can be contacted here.
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