Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper told California state senators Tuesday to set standards for edible marijuana goods and driving under the influence of cannabis as soon as possible to avoid repeating mistakes his state made when it legalized recreational pot.
The senators heard from Hickenlooper as the Legislature prepares to regulate sales of the drug. California voters legalized recreational marijuana in November through Proposition 64.
Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012 and faced a host of challenges implementing the new policy, from taxing marijuana dispensaries to keeping edible marijuana products away from children.
“We made an awful lot of mistakes as we were trying to wrestle with some of these issues,” Hickenlooper said.
California faces a similar challenges implementing Proposition 64. Marijuana sales under the law are scheduled begin in 2018.
“We are in a sprint between now and Jan. 1 to be able to implement the mountain of rules and regulations associated with Prop 64,” state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, said during the committee hearing where Hickenlooper spoke.
Colorado saw a rise in child hospitalization because of kids ingesting edible marijuana products in non-child-proof containers, Hickenlooper told the committee. The state now requires edibles to be sold in child-proof containers and has stricter regulations on labeling such products.
California faces challenges determining how to enforce laws prohibiting driving under the influence of marijuana, Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, said.
“There is no real quantifiable, definitive impairment level as there is with our alcohol,” Hill said. “That’s been the criticism or the challenge that we’ve been faced with here in terms of defining what impairment would be.”
Colorado struggled to quickly pass laws to regulate impaired driving for that reason, Hickenlooper said. He recommended California lawmakers start to address that issue quickly because it will likely take time to resolve.
Marijuana dispensaries generally are forced to pay taxes in cash because