These are all of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Marijuana bills proposed in the 2019 session. Each bill has its own bill number, please use your browser search feature to find the bill you are interested in. Return to the Colorado home page to pick a different bill category.

None of the text is the opinion of Engage. Each bill's description, arguments for, and arguments against are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. The long description is hidden by design, you can click on it to expand it if you want to read more detail about the bill. If you believe we are missing something, please contact us with your suggestion. Some of these bills have the notation that they have been sent to the chamber's "kill" committee. This means that the leadership has decided to send the bill to the State committee even though it does not belong there based on its subject matter. This committee, in both chambers, is stacked with members from "safe" districts and the idea is to kill the bill without forcing any less safe members to take a hard vote. It is possible for a bill to survive the kill committee, but it is very rare.

Prime sponsors are given after each bill, with Senate sponsors in () and House sponsors in []. They are color-coded by party.

Some bills will have text highlighted in pink or highlighted in orange. Pink highlights mean House amendments to the original bill; orange mean Senate amendments. The bill will say under the header if it has been amended.

Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Major, Medium, Minor, and Technical. This is a combination of the change the bill would create and the "controversy" level of the bill. Some minor bills that are extending current programs would be major changes if they were introducing something new, but the entire goal here is to allow you to better curate your time. Something uncontroversial likely to pass nearly unanimously that continues a past program may not be worth your time (and please remember, you can still read all of the minor bills!). Technical bills are here to round out the list. They are non-substantive changes.

HB19-1021 Repeal Ammunition Magazine Prohibition [Saine, Humphrey]

*Sent to House State Affairs Kill Committee*

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Short Description: 

This bill repeals the ban on high-capacity magazines and the requirement that that some magazines manufactured in Colorado after July 1, 2013 be stamped as such.

Long Description: N/A

Arguments For:

The high-capacity magazine ban is an infringement on the 2nd Amendment rights of Colorado citizens. The framers did not carve exceptions into the 2nd Amendment and if a Colorado citizen wants to use high-capacity magazines they have the Constitutional right to do so. Furthermore, criminals do not follow laws, that is why they are criminals, so this ban won’t help prevent tragic incidents of mass shootings because someone who wants to commit a mass shooting isn’t going to make sure they obtain their weapons legally. There are numerous ways around this ban, so the only effect is to keep law-abiding citizens who already weren’t going to shoot anyone from using them. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, so the solution to mass shootings is in people, not guns.

Arguments Against:

This ban was put into place after the Aurora theater shooting, where the shooter was able to fire 30 bullets without reloading. It of course is still on the books, which tells you all you need to know about its constitutionality. There is no need for any gun owner to fire so many bullets without pause, the only reason to do so is if you want to kill as many people as possible before you have to stop firing. Any loopholes in the enforcement of the law should be closed, not used as a justification for ditching it altogether. The fact that criminals will try to evade the law isn’t a reason to not have it. By that logic we shouldn’t have any laws at all, since criminals won’t try to stick to them.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1021
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HB19-1022 Deadly Force Against Intruder at a Business [Sandridge]

*Sent to House State Affairs Kill Committee*

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Expands the rights of citizens to use deadly force against intruders from just own homes to also include place of business. This right extends to anyone who works at the business.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Citizens should be able to defend themselves and this is a natural extension of that right from our home to our work. If a citizen finds him or herself in the unfortunate situation of experiencing peril at their work, they should be able to defend themselves without facing criminal charges.

Arguments Against:

These so-called castle doctrine laws give citizens more rights than police to use deadly force and it is always almost impossible to disprove them, no matter the circumstances, because of the clause in the law that says fear of any harm, no matter how small, is grounds for killing another human being. In a business, it’s easy to see how this could go off the rails very quickly with much larger amounts of foot traffic from strangers.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1022
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HB19-1028 Medical Marijuana Condition Autism (Coram, Fenberg) [Hooton, Ransom]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Adds autism spectrum disorders to the list of medical conditions that authorize the use a person to use medical marijuana. Directs the state board of health to prioritize research regarding the efficacy and the safety of administering medical marijuana for pediatric conditions, including but not limited to autism spectrum disorder.

Long description: n/a

Arguments For:

Marijuana is preferable to the heavy duty pyschotropics frequently used for those on the autism spectrum for calming seizures, a common autism side effect. Numerous anecdotal stories of the effectiveness of its use on those with severe autism point toward allowing it in Colorado.

Arguments Against:

This bill does not preclude prescribing marijuana to children and we do not have much long-term research at all on the effects of marijuana in children (as the bill points out by directing the prioritization of such research). While psychotropics are heavy duty drugs, we do at least have more research on them to understand how they must be mitigated.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1028
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HB19-1033 Local Governments May Regulate Nicotine Products (Fields, Priola) [Tipper, Kennedy]

AMENDED: Technical

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Expands counties ability to impose their own nicotine product restrictions on minors and, with the approval of its citizens, impose a special county sales tax on nicotine products by expanding the definition from just cigarettes to any tobacco or nicotine products. Also allows cities, towns, and counties to impose fees, licenses, or taxes on cigarette sales without losing their share of state cigarette tax revenue (currently they forfeit their share in this case).

Long Description:

Expands counties ability to impose their own nicotine product restrictions on minors and, with the approval of its citizens, impose a special county sales tax on nicotine products by expanding the definition from just cigarettes to any tobacco or nicotine products. This includes the ability to enact ordinances around the possession of tobacco products by minors and the ability to prohibit sales to those under 21. Also allows cities, towns, and counties to impose fees, licenses, or taxes on cigarette sales without losing their share of state cigarette tax revenue (currently they forfeit their share in this case).


Arguments For:

The rise of vaping shows that we need to update our arsenal for combatting nicotine use among minors, where addictions can be formed that last a lifetime. Studies have found that Colorado kids use e-cigarettes at twice the national level. Counties should have the freedom to impose their own taxes and fees on these products that cause so much harm in their communities. The health risks of nicotine are well-established and so are the second-hand effects.

Arguments Against:

This takes sin taxation too far. Cigarettes are already heavily taxed, at some point there needs to be concern about the financial well-being of smokers. We all know how difficult it can be to quit, it’s not a simple matter of ratcheting up the financial pressure. The health effects of vaping are not as well understood as that of smoking, the delivery mechanism can make a difference, but some early research shows that it is less dangerous. It is premature to lump the two together, particularly when it comes to second-hand effects.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1033
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HB19-1049 Concealed Handguns on School Grounds [Neville]

*Sent to House State Affairs Kill Committee*

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Removes the limitation on carrying concealed handguns (by people with valid permits to do so) on school grounds.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

The elimination of the ability to have concealed guns at schools means the only people with guns at schools are bad guys, which leads to the unfortunate shootings that have become all too common. A good guy with a gun on the scene could nip many of these situations in the bud. Someone has to have a valid permit in order to do this, so they have already been vetted by the state.

Arguments Against:

Introducing guns into schools is a recipe for disaster. Civilians are not trained to assess and react to active shooter situations and may be just as likely to shoot innocent bystanders as the gunman. In addition, this lack of training may result in a tragedy where a concealed carry individual believes someone has a gun when in fact they do not. This happens far too often with trained police officers already. Since Columbine, police training to react to these mass shooter incidents has improved greatly and they are more likely to resolve any active shooter situation in the best manner possible. Civilians are also more likely to be sloppy with their guns, leaving them in bathrooms or classrooms for others to find (this has happened in other states). In addition, while it is true that permit holders are vetted, we don’t allow them in the state capitol, where the legislators work, so let’s keep them out of schools.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1049
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HB19-1076 Clean Indoor Air Act Add E-cigarettes Remove Exceptions (Priola, Donovan) [Michaelson Jenet, Larson]

AMENDED: Moderate

PASSED

Short Description:

Add e-cigarettes to the definition of a smoking device, thus banning the use of them indoors everywhere where smoking is already banned. Eliminates currently existing exceptions for some businesses to allow indoor smoking areas. Repeals the ability for private property managers to designate indoor smoking areas.

Long Description:

Add e-cigarettes to the definition of a smoking device, thus banning the use of them indoors everywhere where smoking is already banned. Eliminates currently existing exceptions for some businesses to allow indoor smoking areas including airports, hotels/motels, retail tobacco businesses, place of private employment not open to the public with three or fewer employees, and areas of assisted living facilities. Repeals the ability for private property managers to designate indoor smoking areas.


Arguments For:

E-cigarette emissions consist of ultrafine particles that are more concentrated than conventional cigarette smoke. In those particles, studies have shown not only nicotine but other potentially toxic substances. Some studies have also shown that second-hand exposure to e-cigarette smoke contains just as much exposure to nicotine as second-hand exposure to conventional cigarettes. Studies have shown exposure to e-cigarette emissions damages lung tissue. This stuff is dangerous, just as cigarettes are, and the public has the right to avoid being exposed to it. Furthermore, with how dangerous we know exposure to cigarette and e-cigarette emissions to be, the old exemptions for places like airports and smoking designated rooms just cannot be justified any longer.

Arguments Against:

The health effects of vaping are not as well understood as that of smoking, the delivery mechanism can make a difference, but some early research has found it to be less dangerous than conventional cigarette smoke and the Center for Disease Control says as much on its website. It is premature to lump the two together, particularly when it comes to second-hand effects. Furthermore, the smoking rooms that are being banned by this bill, whether in airports or in assisted living facilities, are currently required by law to be sealed with proper ventilation. The smoke from these rooms is not hurting non-smokers, these are sealed rooms for smokers.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1076

HB19-1090 Publicly Licensed Marijuana Companies (Gonzales, Hill) [Gray, Van Winkle]

AMENDED: Significant

PASSED

Short Description:

Makes it so that only those who own more than 10% of shares in a marijuana business need to go through disclosure and background investigations, as well as repeals provision requiring passive investors to go through an initial background check, provisions that limit out-of-state greater than 10% owners to 15, and provision that prohibits publicly traded entities from holding a marijuana license. Also allows qualified private investors (think hedge funds) to be active owners up to 30% ownership without going through the full disclosure and background information. These companies would need to vet their investors themselves, they are responsible for who is in the fund while the executive level of the fund is all that goes through the disclosure and background investigations.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Marijuana is a real business now in Colorado and deserves to be treated like one. While it is still important to hold larger shareholders to higher standards, given that it is a mind-altering drug like alcohol, we don’t need to waste time and money on insignificant shareholders. It’s also not necessary to hold the out-of-state ownership restriction anymore. Legalization is on the march nationwide and removing this restriction will open up greater access to capital for businesses here in Colorado, where we are now falling behind other states that have legalized marijuana.

Arguments Against:

This is still a drug that is illegal in the United States. We need to know these details on anyone who owns part of a business, given the dangers both legally and personally. The current law has served the state well as it has handled the legalization transition, now is not the time to change it. We also have a long negative history with trusting investors to regulate themselves, as this bill proposes. Letting hedge fund executives assure us all is well may land us in similar trouble

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1090

HB19-1146 Tandem DUI Per Se [Roberts, McKean]

KILLED BY SPONSORS

Short Description:

Replaces the current threshold of 5 nanograms of THC blood threshold currently used for driving under the influence of marijuana with the tandem DUI per se offense, which is when a peace officer has reason to believe someone is incapable of operating a vehicle safely and they have any measurable amount of a drug in their blood or oral fluid (when later tested). Tandem DUI per se penalties are the same as normal DUIs.

Long Description:

Replaces the current threshold of 5 nanograms of THC blood threshold currently used for driving under the influence of marijuana with the tandem DUI per se offense, which is when a peace officer has reason to believe someone is incapable of operating a vehicle safely (in much the same way they can stop someone and administer a breathalyzer to test for alcohol) and they have any measureable amount of a drug in their blood or oral fluid (when later tested). Test must be within four hours. Inactive drugs that are still in the system (except for cocaine) cannot result in a tandem DUI per se arrest. Tandem DUI per se penalties are the same as normal DUIs.


Arguments For:

The current 5 nanogram threshold does not work. Marijuana is just not enough like alcohol in how it can be tested to have a strict numerical threshold (and even alcohol can be a bit dodgy around the edges, since people metabolize it differently). This system simply says: don’t get high and drive. If you are driving erratically enough to attract attention, then any marijuana in your system is an automatic DUI.

Arguments Against:

This makes a bad system worse. We all recognize that just as with alcohol, there is a massive difference in impairment between a little bit of marijuana and a lot of it, so just like with alcohol we have set out to create a threshold. The fact that the current one is not working doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a threshold at all.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1146

HB19-1177 Extreme Risk Protection Orders (Court, Pettersen) [Sullivan, Garnett]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To remove firearms for people deemed dangerous to themselves or others until they have stabilized.

Short Description:

This is a so-called “red flag” bill that allows allows for a family or household member or law enforcement officer to petition a court for a temporary extreme risk protection order that would remove firearms from an individual for 364 days or until the individual can prove to the court they are no longer a risk.

Long Description:

This is a so-called “red flag” bill that allows allows for a family or household member or law enforcement officer to petition a court for a temporary extreme risk protection order. The petitioner must establish by the preponderance of the evidence that an individual poses a significant risk to self or others by having a firearm or by getting a firearm. The individual in question has access to an attorney at the state’s expense, not a public defender but someone from a pool of private attorneys who have agreed to participate. The court must hold the hearing in person or by telephone the day the petition is filed or the next court day. If a temporary protection order is granted, another hearing must be held within 14 days to determine if the order should be continued. A continued order is in effect for 364 days. The individual under the order can petition once during the 364 days to have it removed, here the burden is on the individual under the order to prove they are no longer a risk, but there is discretion left to the judge to order future hearings if the judge thinks there is a strong possibility the order could no longer be necessary before it expires. The petitioner can request the order be extended before it expires. Upon expiration or lifting of the order, all of the individual’s firearms must be returned.


Arguments For:

This is about saving lives. We’ve all asked, in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting and many others, why no one stepped in when it seemed so obvious that there was such clear danger. The unfortunate answer is, it wouldn’t have mattered. If Nicholas Cruz lived in Colorado and people were concerned he would become violent with his firearms, it is not possible to take them away from him, by any avenue, until after he commits a crime. Here in Colorado deputy Zackari Parrish, was killed by a mentally unstable man that the local authorities knew was unstable and armed. And then there are the numerous successful suicides by gun, which may have not been successful with alternatives like pills. Deputy Parrish, and many others, might still be alive today if when people see something and say something, we can actually do something about it. This is a bipartisan bill supported by numerous state sheriffs. It contains numerous safeguards for the rights of the accused individual and relies on a judge to administer the final ruling. These red flags laws exist in other states, including now in Florida, so this is not a novel experiment nor a “blue state” one.

Arguments Against:

This may infringe on the constitutional rights of Colorado citizens under the 2nd amendment. There is no requirement that someone actually does something to lose their constitutional right to bear arms, only the hurdle that others think they might do something. We live in an innocent before proven guilty society and there is a cost to having that freedom. There is also a cost to living in a society where your rights can be taken away for things you might do instead of things that you have done. We cannot travel down that road, no matter how noble the intentions. In addition, the bill shifts the burden of proof onto the individual whose rights are being violated after the initial protection order is granted. Someone who wants to get their constitutional rights back has to prove they are “worthy” of them, not the people trying to continue to deny an individual the right to bear arms.

This bill opens up broad avenues to discriminate against those with behavioral health disorders who are not dangerous but still struggle with mental health problems. It also provides no avenue for someone who has had their constitutional rights abridged to get any help. The state simply swoops in and takes someone’s guns away, then waits for the situation to “get better” without any designated aid to the individual.

Rural areas of the state may lack the resources to enforce this, both in the judiciary and in law enforcement.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1177

HB19-1230 Marijuana Hospitality Establishments (Marble) [Singer, Melton]

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED

Goal: To allow marijuana hospitality establishments similar to bars but with stricter consumption rules.

Description:

Creates a retail marijuana retail hospitality establishment license where people are allowed to come in, purchase marijuana products (limited by a per day quantity allowed), and use marijuana products (only those purchased in the establishment). Local jurisdictions must explicitly approve this license and may put in place stricter restrictions. Must be 21 to enter. No outside marijuana is allowed in the premises, no alcohol can be sold, no employees can imbibe, and no free samples. Food can be sold with appropriate food license. Customers may take purchased marijuana outside the establishment but only if sealed by the same rules that apply for regular retail locations. Any marijuana left by the customer must be destroyed.

Additional Information:

Like bars, establishments must refuse service to anyone who is visibly impaired. Licenses can be revoked if the establishment adversely affects the public health or safety of the immediate neighborhood. The state is to determine the legal daily limit, but it must not be less than 3.5 grams of retail marijuana, 0.25 grams of marijuana concentrate, or a retail marijuana product containing more than 10 milligrams of active THC. Also allows these locations to be mobile (like a bus).


Arguments For:

The idea behind all of our marijuana laws is to treat it like alcohol, which is what it is: a substance that adults can enjoy. Having a public place where people can consume marijuana, just like alcohol, makes perfect sense. The bill allows for local jurisdictions to not participate, puts in place greater consumption rules than you will find in bars (and arguably alcohol is a more destructive impairment), and ensures that any marijuana leaving the establishment is treated just like we treat marijuana leaving a retail establishment.

Arguments Against:

This is an illegal drug at the federal level and the last thing we need to do is setup public places for people to knowingly break the law. Furthermore, while local jurisdictions can opt-in or opt-out of this, that doesn’t hold for neighborhoods who may be adversely affected by having a stoner-bar. They don’t get a choice. In our rush to correct from years of overplaying the effects of marijuana, we may now be going too far in the other direction. This remains a drug that can cause impairment and it remains a drug that can lead to addictive behavior. This bill also goes much further than last year’s failed attempt, which at least had limitations on the number of establishments a license-holder could operate.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1230

HB19-1234 Regulated Marijuana Delivery (Gonzales, Marble) [A. Valdez, Singer]

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED

Goal: To allow for delivery of marijuana to residences within the confines of existing marijuana regulations.

Description:

Allows entities with a medical marijuana or retail marijuana license to get a delivery license. This permits the license holder to deliver marijuana to a residence based on an electronic order (or order received by other means). License holder must verify identity and age of purchaser (must be over 21), as well as medical ID card for medical marijuana. Must deliver only to person who ordered. Limit of one delivery per day. Surcharge of $1 on each delivery, which is to go to local government where licensee is physically located for law enforcement costs. Private residences only. Quantity faces same limits as in-person sales except state licensing authority allowed to limit it farther. Cannot deliver to a residence within a local government authority that has not allowed the sale of retail or medical marijuana (respectively).

Additional Information:

State licensing authority tasked with developing rules around ID and age verification, security requirements (including for delivery vehicle), safety requirements, privacy requirements, and application and renewal fees.


Arguments For:

This is already happening, illegally, in the state. Oregon is already experimenting with a legal version. Alcohol is allowed to be delivered in the state, marijuana should be treated the same. The more we turn marijuana into a legal product the more the illegal market will shrivel up. In addition, for medical marijuana it can be a burden for the person who is ill to have to go in person to the marijuana shop.

Arguments Against:

This remains a federal crime. The state should not be expanding into new frontiers until that situation is resolved. The bill leaves all the messy details up the licensing board about safety. Crime around marijuana remains an issue. We don’t need to be sending it out into the streets, along with delivery agents who can only deal in large amounts of cash. We know that robbery is already a problem for marijuana retail and medical stores, imagine sending out a delivery person with quantities of marijuana and cash.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1234

HB19-1311 Institute of Cannabis Research Role and Mission [Singer]

PASSED

Goal: To create an oversight structure for the Institute of Cannabis Research.

Description:

Creates a governing board for the Institute of Cannabis Research, located at CSU Pueblo. Board is to direct spending of money from state. This is to be for research, an annual symposium, and for routine facility and administrative costs. Spending must be reported to joint budget committee. The director of the institute (already existing employee of CSU Pueblo) duties are elaborated. Allows CSU Pueblo to opt out of hosting the institute with one-year notice.

Additional Information:

Governing board to consist of: Chancellor of CSU system, executive director of state commission on higher education, AMEND president of CU, and executive director of department of health and environment and seven members appointed by governor: three scientists from relevant fields and four people from cannabis industries.


Arguments For:

The Institute of Cannabis Research was created without any real oversight or dedicated purpose. We have been sending money to this institute without all of this for a few years now and it is time to fix that, including what happens if CSU Pueblo decides they don’t want to host this anymore. This is a great opportunity to create a national research hub in an emerging field.

Arguments Against:

The issues with researching a drug that is illegal on the federal level requires some absurd dodging around, like the inability to do some research in actual buildings. Until this is cleared up, we should not be going further down this path.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1311

HB19-1333 Cigarette Tobacco & Nicotine Products Tax (Fields) [Caraveo]

AMENDED: Minor

KILLED ON SENATE FLOOR

Goal: To ask voters to increase sales taxes on cigarettes and nicotine products and use the funds raised for healthcare and preschool and expanded learning opportunities in education.

Description:

Refers a ballot measure to the 2019 ballot that raises the cigarette tax by $0.0875 (total of $1.75 per pack), increases the tax on tobacco products by 22% of the manufacturer’s list price, and creates a nicotine product tax (any ingestible product that is not a cigarette, tobacco product, or FDA authorized drug) at 62% of the manufacturer’s list price, as well as a licensure requirement to sell nicotine products. Also reduces the amount of sales tax vendors are allowed to keep when they submit taxes on-time from 3.33% to 1.6% for tobacco products and the discount cigarette vendors get on tax stamps (placed one each pack) from 4% to 0.4%. Additional funds go 50% to healthcare purposes (specified in bill) and 50% to preschool programs and early childhood (specified in bill).

Additional Information:

For the healthcare funds, 19% ($30 million max) goes to tobacco education programs fund, 9.5% ($15 million max) goes to offset decreased revenue in existing taxes that may be lower due to decreased sales from the tax increases, and for the rest, prior to fiscal year 2023-24, the remaining funds must be divided up 66% to make healthcare more affordable and accessible, and 34% to improve provision of behavioral health services for children and youth. Starting in 2023-24 the specific funding no longer applies, but each of these purposes must receive at least 20%.

For the child education funds, they are transferred to the preschool programs cash fund and the Colorado expanded learning opportunities cash fund (both created by the measure). For first two years of funds, money to be distributed 70% to preschool programs fund and 30% to expanded learning, then in third year 60% preschool and 40% expanded learning, then 55% to preschool and 45% expanded learning thereafter.

The expanded learning opportunities agency is created by the bill. Expanded learning opportunities are defined as: any program, service, or activity that provides supplemental education or developmental support to eligible students outside of normal school operations. Can include tutoring, targeted support for special needs and learning disabilities, language acquisition, outdoor programs that teach new skills, challenging real-world experiences that build essential skill sets, and programs that provide music, dance, arts, or career and technical education training. Agency has a board of directors of eight members, with four members of appointed by each political party. Board must develop criteria for allowable uses of money from the fund, criteria for the administering non-profit to determine which providers can receive payments, determine the amount of payment based on each eligible student based on that student’s family income, determine amount non-profit can keep for administrative expenses, adopt safety standards for students in program, hire staff as necessary, establish fraud protocols. Board is tasked to maximize number and diversity of providers parents can chose from, give quality considerations, deny providers who have inflated cost of their experiences, and prioritize low-income families. Non-profit is responsible for running actual program, including outreach.

Preschool cash fund is directed to spend money to expand and enhance the state preschool program in order to improve the availability, affordability, and quality of voluntary early childhood education with the goal to serve all Colorado families that choose it.


Arguments For:

The first thing this does is tax vaping juice at the same rate as cigarettes, with is entirely appropriate since they are not only nicotine delivery vessels (just like cigarettes), not good for your health and addictive (like cigarettes, even if not as bad), they are also increasingly owned by tobacco companies. As for raising the taxes on cigarettes themselves (and other tobacco products), cigarettes and nicotine are perhaps the most harmful entirely legal drug available in the United States. We want less people to use them and if higher prices helps bring that about, wonderful. If not, then people who are greatly increasing the likelihood they will need expensive healthcare in their future should contribute to lowering the cost of health care for all of us, in addition to other critical state priorities: behavioral health (in particular suicide prevention), early childhood education, and out-of-school learning possibilities. These out-of-school opportunities provide essential academic and life skills for children and youth but frequently are out-of-reach for lower income families that cannot afford to send their kids to them. All of this, of course, requires voter approval.

Arguments Against:

Taxing vaping products at this level may send people online or to other resources to secure them, since obviously prices will rise. Pennsylvania instituted a steep excise tax on these products in 2016 and many smaller stores ended up closing due to shifting procurement channels. So-called sin taxes can be popular but they can also be difficult for a product as addictive as nicotine. Many users find it extremely difficult to quit, and may not simply decide that because it has all gotten more expensive they will (or if they try, will even be able to quit). They may instead decide to spend less money on other things like groceries, outings with family, or supports for their children and families.

In the list of critical state spending priorities, out-of-school education opportunities should be behind K-12 education (owed hundreds of millions by the state), our water fund (tens of millions of dollars a year short of what we need), and transportation (billions of dollars in shortfalls).

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1333

SB19-011 Fermented Malt Beverage and Malt Liquor License (Williams, Tate) [Garnett, McKean]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Removes dual licensing requirements for the beer code and the liquor code dealing with fermented malt beverages and malt liquor that exists as of January 1, 2019 for all non-retail activity since both beverages are now defined similarly in both codes.

Long Description:

Removes dual licensing requirements for the beer code and the liquor code dealing with fermented malt beverages and malt liquor that exists as of January 1, 2019 for all non-retail activity since both beverages are now defined similarly in both codes. All non-retail beer code licenses are converted to liquor licenses and the state is barred from issuing new, non-retail beer code licenses.

Arguments For: The dual requirement is now superfluous for all non-retail activity, so all current law does is force companies and the state to jump through more hoops for no reason.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-011
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SB19-013 Medical Marijuana Condition Opiates Prescribed For (Marble) [Hooton, Ransom]

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED

Short Description:

Adds any condition that a physician can use an opiate for controlling pain as eligible for medical marijuana. Also removes some specific physician requirements (still need two though) for those under 18 to align with constitutional provisions for a debilitating medical condition.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Opiates are more dangerous than marijuana. There is a mountain of evidence proving this and prescription opiates are the keystone of our current opioid epidemic. Marijuana has proven to be an effective pain reliever and should be used in this area.

Arguments Against:

Marijuana is a federally illegal drug, opiates are not. It’s really that simple, so swapping out a legal pain drug for an illegal one is not something the state should be doing. In addition, medical marijuana is in its early days, we should not be so hasty to jump to conclusions about potential long-term problematic side effects.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-013
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SB19-028 Allow On and Off Premises Beer Licenses Rural Areas  (Holbert) [McKean]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

A 2018 bill terminated the 3.2 beer license for consumption on or off premises, requiring those license holders to convert to either on or off premise beer licensing. This bill reinstates the on-off license but only for counties with a population of less than 35,000 or in an underserved area (3.2 licenses do not exist anymore so it will be for full-strength beer).

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

The requirement that the holders of the 3.2 on-off license pick between the two license types forces long-standing locations in rural areas that are frequently the only option for alcohol for miles to choose between being a restaurant and selling beer to go. This is a common sense solution.

Arguments Against:

There is a reason we don’t want places both selling full-strength beer to go and selling it for consumption in the restaurant. The stronger alcohol makes it easier for someone to get fully inebriated and thus sets up the scenario of someone drinking right up to the line where the restaurant would refuse to sell them any beer to go, then buying enough beer to go and drinking it outside where they could endanger others.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-028
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SB19-093 Firearms Rights of Medical Marijuana Users (Marble) [Buentello]

KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Clarifies that an individual cannot be prohibited from carrying a firearm if they have a prior conviction for marijuana usage that is now legal in the state, cannot be denied a concealed carry permit or be otherwise ineligible for a firearm solely due to legal usage of medical marijuana, and medical marijuana information cannot be shared with law enforcement in a background check.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Medical marijuana is a legally prescribed substance in this state, and therefore should be treated just like any other legally prescribed substance when it comes to firearms. In addition, anyone who committed an act in the past that would now be perfectly legal should not be prevented from exercising their 2nd amendment rights. Note that this would not include violent acts because violent acts are illegal on their own, regardless of the drug involved.

Arguments Against:

Marijuana remains an illegal drug on the federal level and is classified as one of the more dangerous ones. Introducing lethal weapons into situations where people may be impaired could be a recipe for trouble. Regardless of its medical benefits, marijuana is a substance that causes impairment.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-093

SB19-141 Entertainment Districts Counties Optional Premises (Donovan) [Roberts]

AMENDED: Technical

PASSED

Goal: To open up entertainment districts beyond just municipalities and allow optional premises licenses inside them.

Short Description:

Allows entertainment districts (areas where people can bring alcohol from one business to another and drink on closed streets and sidewalks) in city and county (like Denver) and counties in addition to municipalities. Allows optional premise liquor licenses (ability to sell liquor at outdoors sports and recreation facilities) in entertainment districts.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

The current restriction of needing a municipality to operate an entertainment district is arbitrary. A city and county like Denver or a county with an unincorporated area that wants to take advantage of this law should be able to. It also makes perfect sense to incorporate outdoor recreation facilities like ice rinks or driving ranges or pools into a big entertainment district. We already have a few of these in the state and they are either smaller districts that simply allow customers to move between two adjacent businesses with alcohol, or larger ones like 9th Street in Greeley or the one in Glendale where there has been no noticeable increase in crime.

Arguments Against:

These districts should not exist in the first place, much less be expanded. We don’t need the Las Vegas strip or Bourbon Street in Colorado in any form, even in small scale.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-141

SB19-142 Hard Cider Exemption Wine Industry Development Act (Donovan)

AMENDED: Technical

PASSED

Goal: To remove hard cider from excise tax requirements under the wine industry development act.

Short Description:

Removes hard cider from the definition of wine and thus removes produce used to create hard cider from the excise taxes required of wineries for the state’s wine development fund.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

It’s pretty simple, hard cider is not wine and furthermore, efforts made by the wine development fund to promote wine in Colorado are of course, promoting wine, not hard cider. So hard cider manufacturers are having to pay into a system that doesn’t benefit them at all.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-142

SB19-200 Alcohol Beverage Consumption National Western Center (Gonzales) [A. Valdez]

PASSED

Goal: To allow people to take alcoholic beverages outside in the national western center complex.

Description:

Adds the national western center complex to list of exceptions to prohibition on taking alcoholic beverages outside of the place they are sold (currently allowed in state fairs and entertainment districts) so long as the beverage is not taken outside of the complex and it is done where Denver authorizes it.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

The national western complex is indeed a complex and people visiting the national western stock show should be able to take beverages between buildings and outside, so long as they remain on facility grounds (this is easy enough to patrol since the grounds are already well-defined and manned). The same logic that already applies to state fairs easily applies here.

Arguments Against:

We don’t need to encourage people to be walking around outside drinking alcohol. We have these restrictions in place for good reason and should keep them.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-200

SB19-218 Sunset Medical Marijuana Program (Gonzales) [Jaquez Lewis]

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED

Goal: To continue the state’s medical marijuana program and implement the recommendations of the department of regulatory agencies’ sunset review program.

Description:

Continues the state medical marijuana program through 2028. Clarifies that if patient is child, doctor must consult with parents. Clarifies only a physician can make a medical marijuana recommendation. Clarifies that medical marijuana users receive same confidentiality as other medical conditions. Clarifies that if a person with a medical marijuana card is convicted of drug crime, card is subject to revocation.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

From the sunset review report: “Amendment 20 requires the creation of a medical marijuana registry, requires the Governor to designate a “state health agency” to maintain that registry and requires the General Assembly to pass implementing legislation. The medical program at CDPHE accomplishes all of these tasks. Therefore, the General Assembly should continue it for nine years, until 2028.”

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-218

SB19-220 Hemp Regulation Alignment with 2018 Federal Farm Bill (Marble, Fenberg) [Saine, Arndt] TECHNICAL BILL

AMENDED: Technical

PASSED

Goal: To align state hemp regulations with federal law changes in 2018.

Description:

Updates state industrial hemp regulations to align with the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which removed hemp from schedule I of the federal controlled substances act and required each state to submit a regulatory plan to the USDA.

Additional Information: n/a

SB19-224 Sunset Regulated Marijuana (Gonzales, Fenberg)

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED

Goal: To continue the state regulations on retail and medical marijuana and implement recommendations of the department of regulatory agencies sunset review report.

Description:

Puts the retail and medical marijuana codes together in one place, extends them through 2028 and makes numerous small changes.

Additional Information:

Changes are:

  • Requires industrial hemp to be tested prior to manufacturing the product
  • Allows retail stores to sell industrial hemp and requires licensing authority to develop equivalency standards for medical marijuana products and concentrate by July 2020
  • Repeals exemption from state food and drug act for medical marijuana
  • Allows local licensing to determine their own renewal timelines and repeals requirements that state and local licensers act in a particular order
  • Allows licensees that submit renewals on time to continue to operate until application is acted upon
  • Merges the research and development license and the research and development cultivation license into one license
  • Repeals ability for medical research facilities and pesticide manufacturers to obtain medical marijuana without a license
  • Gives state licensing authorities ability to seek injunctive relief and subpoenas from district courts
  • Extends confidentiality of records and information related to licensees to applicants, patients, and consumers
  • Makes public final agency actions, testing records, applicant and licensee demographic information, and enforcement forms and checklists
  • Makes it illegal to alter marijuana to circumvent testing requirements
  • Lowers restriction on felons waiting to apply for a license from 5 years for a felony and 10 for a drug felony to 3 years for any felony
  • Repeals requirement for providing certified mail receipt for patients who have submitted application to be on medical registry but have not yet received card to purchase medical marijuana. Still requires proof of application
  • Directs all fine money from retail or medical violations to general fund
  • Directs state licensing authority to track information on licensee disqualifications based on criminal history


Arguments For:

From the department of regulatory agencies’ sunset review report: “Given marijuana’s status under federal law, none of the consumer protections typically afforded by the federal government are available to retail marijuana. Additionally, the state’s constitution requires a regulatory structure substantially similar to that provided by the Retail Code…Maintaining two distinct codes that regulate the same substance in a substantially similar manner is inefficient and creates compliance difficulties. Therefore, the two codes should be integrated into a single code that builds on the provisions of the Retail Code, yet retains certain differences.” For the fine money change: “Ordinarily, when an agency is given fining authority, or the authority to assess civil penalties, such funds are credited to the state’s General Fund. This is done so that the agency has no incentive to impose fines, other than taking legitimate disciplinary action.”

Arguments Against:

Given the specific nature of the marijuana cash fund and its purposes and goals, fine money should stay in the fund.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-224

SB19-240 Industrial Hemp Products Regulation (Marble, Fenberg) [McLachlin, Saine]

PASSED

Goal: To set annual registration fee for industrial hemp registration with department of public health and environment and authorize local governments to create own ordinances or resolutions on industrial hemp.

Description:

Sets the annual registration fee for an industrial hemp with the department of public health and environment at $300. Authorizes local governments to adopt ordinances or resolutions on the storage, extraction, processing, or manufacturing of industrial hemp or industrial hemp products. If the ordinance or resolution conflicts with state law then state law controls.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

With industrial hemp now legal nationwide, Colorado manufacturers could ship their products to other states. The department of public health and environment is responsible for food safety inspections on products and their approval allows products to be shipped out of state. Obviously their costs need to be covered like every other manufacturer, so this bill sets the fee required. We also should allow local governments to write their own regulations, so long as they do not conflict with state ones.

Arguments Against:

Industrial hemp shouldn’t be made to pay $300 regardless of sales. Other businesses pay $100 and then an additional amount based on sales. That same template should apply here.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-240