October 24, 2014

Colorado Court of Appeals: Medical Marijuana Grower Not Entitled to Bring § 1983 Action for Destruction of Plants

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Young v. Larimer County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, September 11, 2014.

Medical Marijuana Amendment—42 USC § 1983—Seizure—Taking—Constitution.

Young leased property where he grew marijuana plants and distributed marijuana for medical use under the Medical Marijuana Amendment (MMA), Article XVIII, §14 of the Colorado Constitution. After obtaining search warrants, sheriff’s deputies entered Young’s property and seized forty-two marijuana plants by cutting them off just above the roots. This action killed the plants. After Young was acquitted of all charges against him, he brought this action for damages on the basis that the deputies had killed the plants seized from him. The trial court entered summary judgment against Young.

On appeal, Young argued that 42 USC § 1983 provides a remedy for state action that violates a right created by the MMA. Section 14(2)(e) of the MMA requires that medical marijuana that has been seized be returned upon acquittal of criminal charges. However, because federal law criminalizes possession of marijuana, such a claim is not cognizable under § 1983. Further, no express or implied private right of action exists under the MMA. Therefore, the trial court properly entered summary judgment on this claim.

Defendants argued that because Young’s complaint alleged a taking only under federal law (which is foreclosed by the federal criminalization of marijuana), a state law takings claim under Article II, §15 of the Colorado Constitution should not be considered. A valid seizure under criminal law does not constitute a taking for which the owner is entitled to just compensation, even if the defendant is later acquitted of the charges. Therefore, the trial court properly entered summary judgment on the state law takings claim. The judgment was affirmed.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Trial Court Erroneously Denied Party Its Counsel of Choice

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in In re People v. Hoskins on Monday, September 8, 2014.

Disqualification of Retained Counsel of Choice—Colo. RPC 1.9(a).

In this original CAR 21 proceeding, the Supreme Court reviewed the trial court’s order disqualifying petitioners’ retained counsel of choice under Colo. RPC 1.9(a). The trial court found that counsel previously represented another party in the same matter for which counsel now represents petitioners, and that the former client and petitioners have materially adverse interests. The Court held that, because the record before it was insufficient to support a finding that the interests of petitioners and the former client are materially adverse in this criminal proceeding, the trial court abused its discretion by disqualifying petitioners’ retained counsel of choice under Colo. RPC 1.9(a). Accordingly, the Court made the rule absolute, reversed the trial court’s order disqualifying petitioners’ counsel of choice, and remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

New C.J.E.A.B. Opinion States Judges Cannot Ethically Use Marijuana

On Thursday, July 31, 2014, the Colorado State Judicial Branch released Colorado Judicial Ethics Advisory Board (C.J.E.A.B.) Opinion 2014-01, advising Colorado judges that because marijuana is still illegal under federal laws, any use of marijuana violates Rule 1.1 of the Canon of Judicial Conduct.

The C.J.E.A.B. consists of judges and non-judges who provide advice on ethical issues to judicial officers who request an opinion. Any judicial officer in Colorado may request an opinion from the Board. Once the request is received, the C.J.E.A.B. will consider whether to research the question and issue an opinion regarding the propriety of the proposed conduct and the ethical issues presented.

The question raised in Opinion 2014-01 was whether a judge may use marijuana privately and in a manner consistent with the Colorado Constitution in light of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. The C.J.E.A.B. decided that because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, using marijuana even in a manner consistent with Colorado law is more than a minor violation of the law and constitutes a violation of Rule 1.1 of the Canon of Judicial Conduct. The C.J.E.A.B. decided that virtually every violation of Colorado law is a violation of the CJC, because the exceptions delineated by the committee that crafted the CJCs were extremely minor, such as parking tickets. Further, because drug- and alcohol-related offenses were specifically mentioned as not falling under the exception, the C.J.E.A.B. determined that a judge’s use of marijuana is not a minor violation of law.

Click here for the full text of Opinion 2014-01 and click here for all of the C.J.E.A.B. opinions.

Bills Regarding Great-Grandparent Visitation, Workers’ Comp Treating Physicians, Marijuana Revenue, Segregation of Mentally Ill Inmates, and More Signed

The 2014 Legislative Session has now ended, and Governor Hickenlooper signed many bills into law this session. Over the past week, he signed 79 bills, allowed one to become law without a signature, and vetoed two bills. In total, the governor signed 396 bills, allowed one to become law without a signature, and vetoed four bills.

On Wednesday, June 4, 2014, the governor signed two bills. They are summarized here. The governor also vetoed one bill, SB 14-023 – Concerning an Authorization of the Voluntary Transfer of Water Efficiency Savings to the Colorado Water Conservation Board for Instream Use Purposes in Water Divisions that Include Lands West of the Continental Divide. The governor’s statement regarding SB 14-023 is available here.

  • SB 14-041 – Concerning the Creation of a USS Colorado License Plate for Motor Vehicles and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Bernie Herpin and Reps. Bob Gardner & Spencer Swalm. The bill creates a special license plate to commemorate the USS Colorado.
  • SB 14-214 – Concerning the Studies Requested in the Department of Personnel’s Response to the Request for Information in the Fiscal Year 2013-14 Annual General Appropriation Act, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Kent Lambert & Pat Steadman and Reps. Cheri Gerou & Jenise May. The bill requires the state personnel director and the state auditor to conduct a compensation study to compare with similar workforce structures. The bill also requires PERA to provide member information and data to any third-party compensation consulting firm.

On Thursday, June 5, 2014, the governor signed 24 bills into law. Some of these are summarized here.

  • SB 14-125Concerning the Regulation of Transportation Network Companies, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring Transportation Network Companies to Carry Liability Insurance, Conduct Background Checks on Transportation Network Company Drivers, Inspect Transportation Network Company Vehicles, and Obtain a Permit from the Public Utilities Commission; and Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Cheri Jahn & Ted Harvey and Reps. Dan Pabon & Libby Szabo. The bill creates a limited structure for transportation network companies, which use digital networks to connect riders to drivers who provide transportation in their area.
  • SB 14-172 – Concerning Employer-Paid Benefits to a Firefighter for Cardiac Illnesses Resulting from a Strenuous Work Event, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Lois Tochtrop & Linda Newell and Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp. The bill requires any municipality, special district, fire authority, or county improvement district employing firefighters to provide benefits for heart and circulatory malfunctions.
  • SB 14-213 – Concerning Increasing the Statutes of Limitations for Commencing Procedures Against a Person who, After Committing a Vehicular Homicide, Leaves the Scene of the Accident, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring a Post-Enactment Review of the Implementation of this Act. The bill increases the statute of limitations for persons who leave the scene of a vehicular homicide from five years to ten years.
  • HB 14-1214 – Concerning an Increase in the Penalties for Certain Offenses Committed Against an Emergency Medical Services Provider, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Cheri Gerou and Sen. David Balmer. The bill adds working emergency medical service providers to the list of victims that trigger enhanced sentencing for first degree murder, first degree assault, and second degree assault.
  • HB 14-1228 – Concerning the Repeal of Certain Requirements for Defensive Driving Schools Attended in Accordance with a Court Order Resulting from a Violation of a Law Regulating the Operation of a Motor Vehicle and, in Connection Therewith, Reducing an Appropriation, by Reps. Cherylin Peniston & Libby Szabo and Sens. Lois Tochtrop & Steve King. The bill removes the requirement that the Department of Revenue monitor, evaluate, and report on the effectiveness of court-ordered driving programs, and eliminates the penalty surcharge on people who attend the courses.
  • HB 14-1260 – Concerning the Creation of Three Mandatory Minimum Presumptive Ranges for Defendants Convicted of a Felony Sex Offense Involving Intrusion Against a Child who is Under Twelve Years of Age when the Adult Defendant is At Least Ten Years Older that has One of the Ranges Starting at Ten Years as the Minimum in the Range, and, in Connection Therewith, Creating an Indeterminate Lifetime Sentence with a Mandatory Minimum Presumptive Range of Ten to Sixteen Years for a Class 4 Felony; a Mandatory Minimum Presumptive Range of Eighteen to Thirty-Two Years for a Class 3 Felony; and a Mandatory Minimum Presumptive Range of Twenty-Four to Forty-Eight Years for a Class 2 Felony, by Rep. Mike Foote  and Sen. Mike Johnston. The bill changes the sentencing parameters for adults who commit felony sex offenses on children under age 12.
  • HB 14-1279 – Concerning the Creation of a State Income Tax Credit to Reimburse a Business for Personal Property Taxes Paid in the State, by Reps. Dianne Primavera & Dave Young and Sens. Rollie Heath & Mark Scheffel. The bill creates a state income property tax credit to reimburse businesses for the amount of business personal property tax paid in Colorado.
  • HB 14-1383 – Concerning the Required Number of Physicians that Must Be Provided to an Injured Employee for Selection of a Treating Physician in Workers’ Compensation Cases, by Rep. Angela Williams and Sens. Lois Tochtrop & Jessie Ulibarri. The bill requires employers to provide injured workers a choice of at least four physicians at two or more distinct locations, with exceptions for rural areas.

On Friday, June 6, 2014, the governor signed 53 bills, allowed one to become law without a signature, and vetoed one bill. The bill he allowed to become law without a signature was HB 14-1371 Concerning Property Taxation of Oil and Gas Leaseholds and Lands and, in Connection Therewith, Specifying that the Wellhead is the Point of Valuation and Taxation for Such Leaseholds and Lands, which changed the point of taxation for oil and gas wells from the production point to the wellhead. The governor issued a statement about the bill (available here).

The bill the governor vetoed Friday was HB 14-1375 – Concerning Modifications to Statutory Provisions Governing Urban Redevelopment to Promote the Equitable Financial Contribution Among Affected Public Bodies in Connection with the Tax Increment Financing of Urban Redevelopment Projects. The governor’s statement regarding this bill is available here.

Summaries of some of the bills the governor signed on Friday are available here.

  • HB 14-1269 – Concerning the Circumstances Under Which a Person who Sells Items Subject to Sales Tax Must Collect Such Sales Tax on Behalf of the State, by Reps. Lois Court & Angela Williams and Sen. Mike Johnston. The bill expands the definition of “nexus” for sales tax purposes, broadening the types of business activity that create taxable sales.
  • HB 14-1280 – Concerning Limits on Liability for Agritourism, by Rep. Timothy Dore and Sen. Gail Schwartz. The bill renames “agricultural recreation activities” as “agritourism” and excludes marijuana-related activities from its definition.
  • HB 14-1321 – Concerning the Membership of the Colorado Task Force on Drunk and Impaired Driving, by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Steve King. The bill changes the name of the Interagency Task Force on Drunk Driving to the Colorado Task Force on Drunk and Impaired Driving and makes several changes to membership requirements.
  • HB 14-1333 – Concerning the Funding of Colorado Water Conservation Board Projects and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Randy Fischer & Don Coram and Sens. Gail Schwartz & Ted Harvey. The bill appropriates funds from the Colorado Water Conservation Board Construction Fund for specific projects and authorizes certain other transactions.
  • HB 14-1343 – Concerning Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for Peace Officers, by Reps. Jonathan Singer & Jared Wright and Sen. Lois Tochtrop. The bill allows firefighters and peace officers to file workers’ compensation claims for post-traumatic stress disorder and specifies parameters for filing such claims.
  • HB 14-1356 – Concerning an Increase in the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission’s Penalty Authority and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Mike Foote and Sen. Matt Jones. The bill increases the penalties for violations of the Oil and Gas Conservation Act.
  • HB 14-1362 – Concerning Great-Grandparent Visitation with Great-Grandchildren, by Rep. Dominick Moreno and Sen. Jessie Ulibarri. The bill allows great-grandparents to seek visitation rights with their great-grandchildren under the same circumstances as grandparent visitation rights are allowed.
  • HB 14-1387 – Concerning Revisions of Capital Related Statutes in the Colorado Revised Statutes and, in Connection Therewith, Amending or Repealing Obsolete, Inconsistent, and Conflicting Provisions of Law and Clarifying the Language to Reflect Legislative Intent and Current Application of the Law, by Reps. Libby Szabo & Randy Fischer and Sen. Gail Schwartz. The bill updates statutes related to capital construction projects and makes additional changes.
  • HB 14-1390 – Concerning the Legal Standing of a Member of the Public in Challenging a Violation of the Open Meeting Requirements, by Reps. Crisanta Duran & Bob Gardner and Sens. Greg Brophy & Rachel Zenzinger. The bill clarifies that anyone denied rights provided by the Open Meetings Law has standing to challenge the denial.
  • HB 14-1398 – Concerning the Provision of Financial Services to Licensed Marijuana Businesses, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Jonathan Singer and Sens. Pat Steadman & David Balmer. The bill allows for the creation and regulation of marijuana financial services cooperatives referred to as “cannabis credit co-ops” or CCCs, a new type of financial services entity with membership restricted to licensed marijuana businesses.
  • SB 14-021 – Concerning the Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness who are Involved in the Criminal Justice Systems, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Lois Tochtrop & Steve King and Rep. Jared Wright. The bill extends the repeal date of the Legislative Oversight Committee for the Continuing Examination of the Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness who are Involved with the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems. The bill also specifies areas of examination for the committee.
  • SB 14-064 – Concerning Restricting the Use of Long-Term Isolated Confinement for Inmates with Serious Mental Illness, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Jessie Ulibarri and Rep. Joseph Salazar. The bill requires the DOC to review the mental health status of offenders in segregation every 90 days, and requires that prior to placing an inmate in segregation, a review of the inmate’s mental health status should occur to determine if such placement is allowed.
  • SB 14-117 – Concerning the Reauthorization of the Regulation of Real Estate Appraisers by the Board of Real Estate Appraisers through a Recreation and Reenactment of the Relevant Statutes Incorporating no Substantive Amendments other than those Approved During the First Regular Session of the 69th General Assembly, by Sen. Cheri Jahn and Rep. Randy Fischer. The bill corrects an oversight from Senate Bill 13-155 and extends the repeal date of the Board of Real Estate Appraisers (board) in the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) through September 1, 2022.
  • SB 14-129 – Concerning Changes to Criminal Provisions Related to Marijuana and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Jenise May. The bill affects a number of criminal provisions related to marijuana, including adding penalties for underage consumption and possession.
  • SB 14-193 – Concerning Conforming Colorado Law on Location Information with the Fourth Amendment as Interpreted by the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Jones, by Sens. Morgan Carroll & Kevin Lundberg and Rep. Jonathan Singer. The bill prohibits a state agency from obtaining location information from an electronic device without first obtaining a search warrant, with some exceptions.
  • SB 14-215 – Concerning the Disposition of Moneys Collected by the State in Connection with the Legal Marijuana Industry, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Reps. Crisanta Duran & Cheri Gerou. The bill creates the Marijuana Cash Tax Fund for tax revenue collected by the legal marijuana industry, and identifies the purposes for which funds may be appropriated from the Marijuana Cash Tax Fund.

For a list of Governor Hickenlooper’s legislative decisions, click here.

Veterans Bills, Hepatitis C Bill, Marijuana Bills, and Many Others Signed by Governor

Though the General Assembly has adjourned for 2014, the governor continues to sign legislation. To date, the governor has signed 283 bills and vetoed two bills. He signed bills most days during the week of May 19, and signed veterans bills on Memorial Day – May 26, 2014. Some of these are summarized here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

  • SB 14-173 – Concerning the Recommendation that Certain Persons be Offered a Test for the Hepatitis C Virus, by Sens. Cheri Jahn & Steve King and Reps. Jonathan Singer & Frank McNulty. The bill recommends that health care providers offer a test to screen for hepatitis C to anyone born between 1945 and 1965.
  • SB 14-174 – Concerning the Creation of the Prosecution Fellowship Program, by Sens. Rollie Heath & Mike Johnston and Reps. Mike McLachlan & Dan Pabon. The bill provides a fund in the Department of Higher Education for fellowships for recent Colorado law school graduates to pursue careers as prosecutors in rural areas.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • HB 14-1178 – Concerning a Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Qualified Property Used in Space Flight, and, In Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing Appropriations, by Reps. Mark Ferrandino & Brian DelGrosso and Sens. Mary Hodge & Kevin Grantham. The bill exempts qualified space flight personal property from sales and use tax.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • SB 14-123 – Concerning the Authority of the Peace Officers Standards and Training Board, and, In Connection Therewith, Providing Additional Rule-Making Authority; Raising the Maximum Fee for Certification and Skills Exams; Allowing Awarding Grants to Nonprofit Organizations; Denying Certification for Municipal Violations; and Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Lucia Guzman and Rep. Daniel Kagan. The bill makes several adjustments to the rule-making authority of the Peace Officers Standards and Training Board and allows fee increases, denial of certification, and more.
  • SB 14-155 – Concerning Grant Funding for Medical Marijuana Health Effects Studies, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Reps. Jenise May & Crisanta Duran. The bill creates a grant program to fund scientific research on the use of marijuana as a part of medical treatment.
  • HB 14-1032 – Concerning the Provision of Defense Counsel to Juvenile Offenders, and, In Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing Appropriations, by Rep. Daniel Kagan and Sen. Lucia Guzman. The bill makes several changes to the procedures concerning providing defense counsel for juvenile offenders.
  • HB 14-1288 – Concerning Information Available Regarding Personal Belief Exemptions to Immunization Requirements for Children Prior to Attending School, by Rep. Dan Pabon and Sen. Irene Aguilar. The bill expands the requirements necessary for parents to waive the immunization requirement for their children prior to attending school.
  • HB 14-1361 – Concerning the Authority of the State Licensing Authority to Establish Equivalencies for Retail Marijuana Products, and, In Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Frank McNulty & Jonathan Singer and Sens. Lucia Guzman & Steve King. The bill requires the Department of Revenue to establish rules regarding the equivalency of marijuana flowers and marijuana concentrate by January 1, 2016.
  • HB 14-1366 – Concerning Reasonable Restrictions on the Sale of Edible Retail Marijuana Products, by Reps. Jonathan Singer & Frank McNulty and Sens. Mike Johnston & Steve King. The bill removes the requirement that marijuana flowers be sold in childproof packaging and maintains the requirement for edible marijuana products.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • SB 14-051 – Concerning Access to Records Relating to the Adoption of Children, and, In Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Lois Tochtrop and Rep. Lori Saine. The bill eliminates different standards for the release of adoption records, and generally seals those records from all but eligible recipients.
  • SB 14-118 – Concerning Improving Protections for Individuals with Disabilities, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Jovan Melton. The bill changes definitions to conform to the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and increases penalties for certain offenses.
  • HB 14-1042 – Concerning Access by Birth Parents to Records Relating to the Relinquishment of Parental Rights, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Lori Saine and Sen. Lois Tochtrop. The bill requires the custodian of records to release certain records to relinquishing birth parents at the time of relinquishment.
  • HB 14-1372 – Concerning Unauthorized Advertising for Adoption Purposes, by Reps. Kathleen Conti & Beth McCann and Sen. Vicki Marble. The bill prohibits advertising through a public medium for purposes of facilitating adoptions.

Monday, May 26, 2014

  • HB 14-1205 – Concerning the Veterans Assistance Grant Program, by Rep. Su Ryden and Sen. Larry Crowder. The bill creates the Veterans Assistance Grant Program, which will provide financial assistance to nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies providing services to improve the health and well-being of veterans in the state.
  • HB 14-1373 – Concerning Individuals Who May Claim the Property Tax Exemption for Qualifying Seniors and Disabled Veterans, by Reps. Steve Lebsock & Ray Scott and Sens. Larry Crowder & Rachel Zenzinger. The bill allows certain individuals to claim a property tax exemption when those individuals would not ordinarily be allowed to claim the exemption.

For a list of the governor’s legislative decisions, click here.

SB 14-215: Specifying the Disposition of Moneys Collected by the State in Connection with the Marijuana Industry

On April 28, 2014, Sen. Pat Steadman introduced SB 14-215 – Concerning the Disposition of Moneys Collected by the State in Connection with the Legal Marijuana Industry, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

Joint Budget Committee

The bill specifies the cash fund into which the moneys collected by the state in connection with the retail marijuana industry will be deposited and determines the disposition of such moneys received by the state during the 2013–14 state fiscal year.

Beginning July 1, 2014, the bill requires all retail marijuana excise tax revenues, all retail marijuana sales tax revenues, and all marijuana state sales tax revenues to be deposited in the marijuana tax cash fund, which the bill creates in the state treasury. The bill requires the state treasurer to transfer all moneys in the marijuana cash fund on July 1, 2014, that are attributable to retail marijuana excise tax revenues, retail marijuana sales tax revenues, and marijuana state sales tax revenues to the marijuana tax cash fund. All moneys attributable to fees will remain in the marijuana cash fund and will continue to be deposited in the marijuana cash fund.

The bill modifies the authorized uses of the moneys in the marijuana cash fund. Beginning July 1, 2014, the general assembly may appropriate the moneys in the marijuana cash fund only to the department of revenue for the costs associated with the regulation, control, and taxation of medical and retail marijuana.

Marijuana tax cash fund. The bill specifies that the general assembly may appropriate the moneys in the newly created marijuana tax cash fund for specified purposes, including the purposes that were eliminated from the currently existing marijuana cash fund.

The bill prohibits the general assembly from appropriating the moneys in the marijuana tax cash fund until the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the moneys were received by the state; except that the general assembly may appropriate moneys in the marijuana tax cash fund to the department of revenue in the fiscal years in which they were received by the state for the costs associated with the regulation, control, and taxation of medical and retail marijuana.

The remaining moneys in the marijuana tax cash fund are subject to annual appropriation by the general assembly, initially based on the most recent revenue estimate, in the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which they were received by the state. The general assembly may also direct the state treasurer to make transfers from the marijuana tax cash fund to the general fund for specific purposes.

The governor is required to include the governor’s requested expenditures of moneys in the marijuana tax cash fund and the purposes of such expenditures in the governor’s budget request submitted to the joint budget committee each November. In addition, the executive director of the department of revenue is required to include in its budget request submitted to the joint budget committee in November of each year the amount that the department requests from the moneys in the marijuana cash fund and from the marijuana tax cash fund for the costs associated with the regulation, control, and taxation of medical and retail marijuana.

Beginning with appropriations made for the 2015–16 state fiscal year, the total amount that the general assembly appropriates from the fund shall not exceed 93.5% of the amount of moneys in the fund available for appropriation.

The bill delineates the permissible purposes for which the general assembly may appropriate moneys in the marijuana tax cash fund.

The bill makes changes to the 2014 general appropriation bill that are required due to the transfer of moneys from the marijuana cash fund to the marijuana tax cash fund.

The bill passed the Health & Human Services and Appropriations Committees on April 30 and May 1 respectively. On May 2, the bill passed the 2nd Reading Consent Calendar in the Senate.

Since this summary, the bill passed the Senate on Third Reading, with amendments. It was introduced in the House and assigned to the Committee on Health, Insurance & Environment. The Committee on Health, Insurance & Environment referred the bill, amended, to the Appropriations Committee, which referred it, amended, to the House Committee of the Whole. The bill passed on Second Reading with amendments and on Third Reading with no amendments. The Senate repassed the bill with the House amendments.

HB 14-1398: Creating a New Class of Financial Institutions for Marijuana Businesses

On April 30, 2014, Rep. Jonathan Singer and Sen. Pat Steadman introduced HB 14-1398 – Concerning the Provision of Financial Services to Licensed Marijuana Businesses, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

Because marijuana is illegal under federal law, financial institutions are reluctant to serve state-licensed marijuana businesses. These businesses therefore currently operate almost entirely on a cash-only basis, which raises their costs and increases the risk of crime, among other things.

The bill enacts the “Marijuana Financial Services Cooperatives Act.” Marijuana financial services cooperatives (referred to as “cannabis credit co-ops”) are a type of financial services entity, membership in which is restricted to entities that are licensed to own or operate a marijuana business. Cannabis credit co-ops are subject to regulation by the state commissioner of financial services in a manner similar to that of credit unions, with the following differences:

  • The commissioner has 60 days after the filing of an application for a charter to determine whether the application meets the applicable requirements;
  • The incorporators of the co-op must provide the commissioner with written evidence of approval by the federal reserve bank for access by the co-op to the federal reserve system;
  • The commissioner cannot allow more than 10 charters for Cannabis credit co-ops to be outstanding at any one time;
  • The commissioner must examine cannabis credit co-ops at least once every six months; and
  • Once a member no longer owns or operates a licensed marijuana business, the member is no longer qualified to be a member of a co-op.

A cannabis credit co-op:

The bill gives the court of appeals jurisdiction to review certain of the commissioner’s actions. The bill sunsets the regulation of cannabis credit co-ops on September 1, 2020.

The bill has been approve by the Business, Labor, Economic, & Workforce Development, Finance, and Appropriations Committees in the House On May 2, the House passed the bill, as amended, on 2nd Reading Refer Amended to Finance.

  • Cannot refer to itself as a “credit union” or “bank;”
  • Does not need to acquire and maintain deposit insurance;
  • Is subject to taxation; and
  • Is specifically required to comply with federal requirements relating to marijuana businesses and their proceeds and to file reports with the commissioner regarding its federal law compliance and compliance with federal guidance.

Since this summary, the bill passed through the Senate Finance Committee and was referred to Appropriations, where it also passed. The bill passed 2nd Reading in the full Senate with amendments. It also passed 3rd Reading in the Senate, where it was also amended. The bill went back to the House for consideration of the Senate amendments. The first consideration in the House was to not concur with the Senate changes, and a committee conference was requested. The committee conferred, and the bill went back to the House floor, where the changes were accepted.

HB 14-1361: Requiring the Department of Revenue to Promulgate Rules Regarding Equivalency of Marijuana Flowers and Edibles

On April 7, 2014, Rep. Frank McNulty and Sen. Lucia Guzman introduced HB 14-1361 – Concerning the Authority of the State Licensing Authority to Establish Equivalencies for Retail Marijuana Products, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill directs the department of revenue (department) to promulgate rules establishing the equivalent of one ounce of retail marijuana flower in various retail marijuana products. The bill authorizes the department to contract for a scientific study of the equivalency of marijuana flower in marijuana products.

The bill prohibits a retail marijuana store from selling more than one ounce of retail marijuana or the equivalent in retail marijuana products during any single transaction to a Colorado resident. Current law prohibits the sale of more than one-quarter ounce of retail marijuana to a person who is not a resident of Colorado. The bill expands this prohibition to include the equivalent of one-quarter ounce in retail marijuana products.

The bill passed out of the house on April 21. The bill has been approved by the senate health & human services and appropriations committees and cleared 2nd reading in the Senate on May 2.

Since this summary, the bill passed 3rd Reading in the Senate with no amendments. It is on its way to the governor’s desk.

e-Legislative Report: April 28, 2014

CBA Legislative Policy Committee

For readers who are new to CBA legislative activity, the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) is the CBA’s legislative policy-making arm during the legislative session. The LPC meets weekly during the legislative session to determine CBA positions on requests from the various sections and committees of the Bar Association.

The LPC did not meet on Friday, April 25.

At the Capitol—Week of April 21

A scorecard of the committee and floor work follows.

In the House

Monday, April 21

Passed on 3rd reading.

  • SB 14-123. Concerning the authority of the peace officers standards and training board, and, in connection therewith, providing additional rule-making authority; raising the maximum fee for certification and skills exams; allowing awarding grants to nonprofit organizations; denying certification for municipal violations; and making an appropriation. Vote: 36 yes, 26 no, and 3 excused.
  • SB 14-161. Concerning the modernization of provisions of the “Uniform Election Code of 1992” that ensure voter access for eligible electors, and, in connection therewith, reducing the deadline by which a voter registration application must be submitted via certain methods, altering procedures pertaining to national change-of-address searches, allowing emergency ballots to be obtained for nonmedical reasons, amending provisions relating to military and overseas voters, increasing the penalty for providing false residential information, making the aiding or abetting the provision of false residential information a new felony offense, and making and reducing appropriations. Vote: 42 yes, 20 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1357. Concerning in-home support services provided in the Medicaid program, and, in connection therewith, making and reducing appropriations. Vote: 48 yes, 14 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1356. Concerning an increase in the Colorado oil and gas commission’s penalty authority, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 40 yes, 22 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1373. Concerning individuals who may claim the property tax exemption for qualifying seniors and disabled veterans. Vote: 58 yes, 4 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1355. Concerning department of corrections reentry initiatives for successful reintegration of adult offenders into the community, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 47 yes, 15 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1334. Concerning the petroleum cleanup and redevelopment fund. Vote: 50 yes, 12 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1311. Concerning the credit against the state income tax for the costs incurred in connection with the preservation of historic structures, and, in connection therewith, making and reducing appropriations. Vote: 50 yes, 12 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1368. Concerning the transition of youth ages eighteen through twenty-one who have intellectual and developmental disabilities to the adult program of services for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and, in connection therewith, making and reducing appropriations. Vote: 62 yes, 0 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1310. Concerning the provision of breath testing devices to law enforcement agencies. Vote: 55 yes, 7 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1361. Concerning the authority of the state licensing authority to establish equivalencies for retail marijuana products, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 62 yes, 0 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1358. Concerning continuation of in-home support services, and, in connection therewith, authorizing in-home support services for spinal cord injury waiver pilot program participants. Vote: 55 yes, 7 no, and 3 excused.
  • SB 14-154. Concerning funds administered by the division of fire prevention and control in the department of public safety. Vote: 62 yes, 0 no, and 3 excused.
  • SB 14-30. Concerning the fee charged to issue a special license plate to a person with a distinguished flying cross that was awarded for valor, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 59 yes, 3 no, and 3 excused.
  • SB 14-51. Concerning access to records relating to the adoption of children, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 62 yes, 0 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1044. Concerning consequences for a parolee who tampers with an electronic monitoring device that the parolee is required to wear as a condition of parole. Vote: 62 yes, 0 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1371. Concerning property taxation of oil and gas leaseholds and lands, and, in connection therewith, specifying that the wellhead is the point of valuation and taxation for such leaseholds and lands. Vote: 62 yes, 0 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1353. Concerning powers of appointment. Vote: 62 yes, 0 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1363. Concerning the nonsubstantive revision of statutes in the Colorado Revised Statutes, as amended, and, in connection therewith, amending or repealing obsolete, imperfect, and inoperative law to preserve the legislative intent, effect, and meaning of the law. Vote: 62 yes, 0 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1359. Concerning medication synchronization for patients who are prescribed multiple medications. Vote: 58 yes, 4 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1366. Concerning reasonable restrictions on the sale of edible retail marijuana products. Vote: 62 yes, 0 no, and 3 excused.

Tuesday, April 22

Passed 3rd Reading:

  • SB 14-92. Concerning the creation of the crime of insurance fraud, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 65 yes and 0 no.
  • HB 14-1362. Concerning great-grandparent visitation with great grandchildren. Vote: 65 yes and 0 no.
  • SB 14-49. Concerning endangering public utility transmission, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 64 yes and 1 no.

Thursday, April 24

Passed on 3rd reading.

  • HB 14-1383. Concerning the required number of physicians that must be provided to an injured employee for selection of a treating physician in workers’ compensation cases. Vote: 37 yes, 27 no, and 1 excused.
  • HCR 14-1002. Submitting to the registered electors of the state of Colorado an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning the petition signatures required for a citizen initiated constitutional amendment, and, in connection therewith, requiring a portion of the petition signatures for the amendment be gathered from voters who reside in each Colorado congressional district, increasing the total number of petition signatures required for the amendment, and excluding the repeal of an amendment passed prior to 2015 from these petition signature requirements. Vote: 47 yes and 18 no.
  • HB 14-1372. Concerning unauthorized advertising for adoption purposes. Vote: 65 yes and 0 no.

Friday, April 25

Passed 3rd Reading:

  • HB 14-1360. Concerning the continuation of the regulation of home care agencies by the department of public health and environment, and, in connection therewith, implementing the recommendations of the 2013 sunset report by the department of regulatory agencies, as modified by the legislative sunset committee, and making an appropriation. Vote: 48 yes, 16 no, and 1 excused.
  • HB 14-1380. Concerning the Colorado coroners standards and training board, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 64 yes, 0 no, and 1 excused.
  • SB 14-117. Concerning the reauthorization of the regulation of real estate appraisers by the board of real estate appraisers through a recreation and reenactment of the relevant statutes incorporating no substantive amendments other than those approved during the first regular session of the 69th general assembly. Vote: 49 yes, 15 no, and 1 excused.
  • SB 14-129. Concerning changes to criminal provisions related to marijuana and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 64 yes, 0 no, and 1 excused.

In the Senate

Monday, April 21

Passed on 3rd Reading:

  • HB 14-1321. Concerning the membership of the Colorado task force on drunk and impaired driving. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • HB 14-1003. Concerning the exemption from state income tax of income that is earned by a nonresident individual working temporarily in the state to assist with disaster emergency relief activities, and, in connection therewith, making and reducing appropriations. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • HB 14-1034. Concerning the creation of a wine packaging permit to allow certain alcohol beverage licensees to package wine produced by another wine manufacturer, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • HB 14-1042. Concerning access by birth parents to records relating to the relinquishment of parental rights, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • HB 14-1228. Concerning the repeal of certain requirements for defensive driving schools attended in accordance with a court order resulting from a violation of a law regulating the operation of a motor vehicle, and, in connection therewith, reducing an appropriation. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • HB 14-1339. Concerning the creation of the hazardous substance site response fund. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • SB 14-183. Concerning an increase in the maximum term of a business incentive agreement that a local government enters into with a taxpayer who pays business personal property tax. Vote: 34 yes and 0 no.
  • SB 14-181. Concerning the elimination of the use of automated vehicle identification systems for traffic law enforcement. Vote: 34 yes and 1 no.
  • HB 14-1045. Concerning the continuation of the breast and cervical cancer prevention and treatment program, and, in connection therewith, making and reducing appropriations. Vote: 29 yes and 6 no.
  • HB 14-1185. Concerning the issuance of travel insurance policies. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • HB 14-1207. Concerning the creation of the household medication take-back program, and, in connection therewith, making and reducing appropriations. Vote: 25 yes and 10 no.
  • HB 14-1006. Concerning the remittance of the marketing and promotion tax collected by lodging establishments in a local marketing district, and, in connection therewith, making and reducing appropriations. Vote: 33 yes and 2 no.

Tuesday, April 22

Passed on 3rd Reading:

  • SB 14-12. Concerning increasing the assistance payment for the program for aid to the needy disabled, and, in connection therewith, making and reducing appropriations. Vote: 22 yes and 13 no.
  • SB 14-14. Concerning the property-related expense assistance grants for low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities, and, in connection therewith, making and reducing appropriations. Vote: 21 yes and 14 no.
  • HB 14-1313. Concerning a requirement that the owner of a pet animal provide a valid rabies vaccination certificate prior to registering the animal with a county. Vote: 23 yes and 12 no.

Wednesday, April 23

Passed on 3rd Reading:

  • SB 14-186. Concerning the aggregation of efficiency projects in small communities in order to attract private sector investment through performance contracting. Vote: 23 yes and 12 no.
  • SB 14-184. Concerning oversight of the industrial hemp program. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • HB 14-1260. Concerning the creation of three mandatory minimum presumptive ranges for defendants convicted of a felony sex offense involving intrusion against a child who is under 12 years of age when the adult defendant is at least 10 years older that has one of the ranges starting at ten years as the minimum in the range, and, in connection therewith, creating an indeterminate lifetime sentence with a mandatory minimum presumptive range of 10 to 16 years for a class 4 felony; a mandatory minimum presumptive range of 18 to 32 years for a class 3 felony; and a mandatory minimum presumptive range of 24 to 48 years for a class 2 felony. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • HB 14-1061. Concerning sentences imposing monetary payments in criminal actions, and, in connection therewith, eliminating prison sentences for persons who are unable to pay criminal monetary penalties. Vote: 34 yes and 1 no.
  • HB 14-1280. Concerning limits on liability for agritourism. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • HB 14-1354. Concerning the ability of a county clerk and recorder to seek judicial review of final action by the secretary of state relating to elections. Vote: 31 yes and 4 no.
  • HB 14-1288. Concerning information available regarding personal belief exemptions to immunization requirements for children prior to attending school. Vote: 19 yes and 16 no.

Friday, April 25

Passed 3rd Reading:

  • HB 14-1347. Concerning statutorily established time periods that are multiples of seven days. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • HB 14-1344. Concerning the use of electronic means to document transactions related to the business of insurance. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • HB 14-1266. Concerning the penalties for certain value-based offenses, and, in connection therewith, reducing an appropriation. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • SB 14-194. Concerning the issuance of identification documents by the department of revenue, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • HB 14-1199. Concerning changes to the regulation of consumer goods service contracts, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • HB 14-1162. Concerning protection of the victim of a sexual assault in cases where a child was conceived as a result of the sexual assault, and, in connection therewith, making legislative changes in response to the study by and the report of the recommendations from the task force on children conceived through rape. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • HB 14-1144. Concerning measures to improve the performance of district attorneys, and, in connection therewith, making and reducing appropriations. Vote: 33 yes and 2 no.
  • SB 14-3. Concerning child care assistance for working families, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 19 yes and 16 no.
  • SB 14-176. Concerning crimes related to entities that trade in stolen vehicles, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.
  • SB 14-187. Concerning creation of the Colorado commission on affordable health care to analyze health care costs in Colorado, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 23 yes and 12 no.
  • SB 14-164. Concerning aerial firefighting efforts through the division of fire prevention and control in the department of public safety, and, in connection therewith, implementing recommendations made by the division regarding the Colorado firefighting air corps. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.

Stay tuned for 10 Bills of Interest.

SB 14-184: Revising Regulation of Industrial Hemp

On April 4, 2014, Sen. Gail Schwartz introduced SB 14-184 – Concerning Oversight of the Industrial Hemp Program. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

Current law limits a person who holds a registration to grow industrial hemp for research and development purposes to growth outdoors and on not more than 10 acres. The bill removes these limitations. The bill also changes the time period during which a person who wishes to grow industrial hemp may apply to the department of agriculture (department) from May first of the year in which the person wishes to grow hemp to prior to planting.

The bill requires the department to test at least 80% of the hemp crop in the industrial hemp registration program. The bill allows the general assembly to make general fund appropriations to support the program.

The bill exempts state-accredited research institutions that are engaged in research and development from the industrial hemp testing program. The bill allows a research and development registrant to use or destroy hemp that exceeds delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration limits established by the department in a manner approved and verified by the department.

The bill requires the department to administer an industrial hemp grant program that is funded through registration fees and moneys from the medical marijuana cash fund. The grants allow state institutions of higher education to conduct the research. The bill creates the industrial hemp research grant program fund.

The bill allows a person to process, sell, and distribute hemp cultivated by a registered person or to sell hemp products produced from the hemp.

On April 15, the Senate Local Government referred the amended bill to the Consent Calendar for consideration on 2nd Reading.

Since this summary, the bill passed the Senate on Second and Third Readings. It was amended on Second Reading. The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the Local Government Committee.

Comment [14] Added to Colo. RPC 1.2 Regarding Advising Marijuana Businesses

The Colorado Supreme Court adopted Rule Change 2014(05) on Monday, March 24, 2014, effective immediately. The rule change amends the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct by adding Comment [14] to Rule 1.2 to read:

A lawyer may counsel a client regarding the validity, scope, and meaning of Colorado constitution article XVIII, secs. 14 & 16. and may assist a client in conduct that the lawyer reasonably believes is permitted by these constitutional provisions and the statutes, regulations, orders, and other state or local provisions implementing them. ln these circumstances, the lawyer shall also advise the client regarding related federal law and policy.

Justice Coats and Justice Eid would not adopt Comment [14].

Governor Hickenlooper Signs Marijuana Packaging Bills and More into Law

As the 2014 legislative session continues, Governor Hickenlooper continues to sign bills into law. To date, he has signed 82 bills into law. Some of his most recent legislative decisions are summarized below.

Governor Hickenlooper signed two bills on Monday, March 17, 2014.

  • HB 14-1122 – Concerning Provisions to Keep Legal Marijuana from Underage Persons, by Rep. Daniel Kagan and Sen. Linda Newell. The bill requires that all medical marijuana be sold in child-proof packaging unless the patient has a doctor’s note explaining why he or she cannot open child-proof packages. It also changes the classification of the crime of selling recreational marijuana to someone under age 21 to a Class 1 misdemeanor.
  • HB 14-1229 – Concerning Authorizing Sharing Information Between State and Local Government Agencies Related to Legal Marijuana, by Reps. Daniel Kagan and Jared Wright and Sens. Mike Johnston and Steve King. The bill conforms retail marijuana licensing law to medical marijuana licensing law by allowing local districts to submit persons applying for retail marijuana establishment licenses to a CBI background check.

Governor Hickenlooper signed 13 bills on Thursday, March 20, 2014.

  • SB 14-043 – Concerning the Inclusion of Certain Land Areas Used to Grow Products that Originate Above the Ground Within the Classification of “All Other Agricultural Property” for Property Tax Purposes, by Sen. Kevin Grantham and Rep. Kevin Priola. The bill specifies that greenhouses, nurseries, and other horticultural and agricultural operations are classified as “all other agricultural property” and is assessed according to the market value of other agricultural land within the county.
  • SB 14-048 – Concerning Use of the Most Recent United States Census Bureau Mortality Table as Evidence of the Expectancy of Continued Life of Any Person in a Civil Action in Colorado, by Sen. Lucia Guzman and Rep. Mark Waller. The bill repeals the mortality table included in Colorado law and requires courts to use the U.S. Census Bureau life expectancy information in civil actions.
  • SB 14-052 – Concerning Actions Taken to Remediate Soil Erosion Creating Property Damage, by Sen. Larry Crowder and Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg. The bill allows counties to consult with specialists regarding soil erosion, and to recover monies from landowners failing to treat soil erosion.
  • SB 14-083 – Concerning Reimbursement to be Paid by a County to the State for Costs Incurred by the State in Connection with the Reappraisal of Property in the County, by Sen. Larry Crowder and Rep. Mark Ferrandino. The bill authorizes the State Board of Equalization to waive the requirement that a county reimburse it for costs involved with reappraisal of property.

Governor Hickenlooper signed 10 bills on Friday, March 21, 2014.

  • SB 14-059 – Concerning Eliminating the Statute of Limitations for Offenses that Accompany Sex Offenses that are Not Subject to a Statute of Limitations, by Sen. Lucia Guzman and Rep. Polly Lawrence. The bill removes the statute of limitations for offenses that accompany sex offenses not subject to a statute of limitations.
  • SB 14-097 – Concerning the Immunity of Public Agencies Against Liability Arising from the Wildfire Mitigation Activities of Insurance Companies, by Sen. Lois Tochtrop and Rep. Millie Hamner. The bill clarifies that public agencies are not responsible for the actions of insurance companies or their representatives, and clarifies that insurance companies are not immune from liability under the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act.
  • HB 14-1052 – Concerning an Increase in the Enforcement Authority of Ground Water Management Districts, by Rep. Randy Fischer and Sen. Matt Jones. The bill allows ground water management districts to enforce permits, issue orders, collect fines, and collect court costs and attorney fees.
  • HB 14-1215 – Concerning the Ability of a Federal Home Loan Bank to Enforce its Rights with Regard to Collateral Subject to a Security Agreement, by Rep. Joann Ginal and Sen. Lois Tochtrop. The bill prohibits a receiver or liquidator of an insolvent insurer from avoiding obligations to a federal home loan bank regarding collateral under a security agreement.

For a list of Governor Hickenlooper’s legislative decisions, click here.