DENVER – Medical marijuana workers face constant scrutiny in Colorado, but a bill pending in the state Legislature could cut them some slack if they run into regulatory trouble for a violation such as selling medical pot to someone without a valid patient card.
Colorado’s proposal to create the nation’s first “responsible medical marijuana vendor” designation would allow pot shops to train employees in state regulation and how to spot fake cards.
Dispensaries and other marijuana business that show all their employees have been trained could get a break if they run afoul of regulations.
The state Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division already requires that people who work with medical marijuana undergo background checks.
Employees must wear state-issued badges and be under video surveillance at all times they are handling marijuana seeds or plants, as well as products made from marijuana, such as pot brownies.
The proposed responsible vendor designation would give dispensary owners the option of giving employees additional training in state marijuana regulation and identifying legal medical marijuana cards.
Companies that put all their employees through the responsible vendor training could get a break if they face state sanctions for a regulatory misstep later.
Brian Vicente, head of Sensible Colorado, a pro-legalization group that supports the bill, which awaits a Senate committee hearing, said, “It’s really an attempt by the industry to further establish clear regulation and responsibility.”
A similar designation already is in place for companies that sell alcohol.
The designation would not exempt a company from regulatory violations, but the MMED could consider the designation a mitigating factor in a possible enforcement action.
Democratic Sen. Lois Tochtrop, who sponsored the bill said the additional training could give pot workers “more clarity.”
“This gives the public more confidence in the industry,” Tochtrop said.