JULY 2017 CONFERENCE

Legalizing Marijuana Part One:
The Colorado Experience

 Barbara Brohl

Executive Director
Department of Revenue
State of Colorado

Barbara Brohl, Executive Director, Department of Revenue, State of Colorado, led the State’s efforts to implement Amendments 20 and 64, which legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use. She described the complex process that included representation of all stakeholders and led to the development of the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) in the Department of Revenue. Ms. Brohl provided in-depth detail on how this process evolved and continues to change as new issues arise. She detailed step-by-step best practices to implement these laws.

Ms. Brohl manages the Department of Revenue’s 1,500 employees who oversee the Division of Motor Vehicles, Taxation, Lottery and Enforcement, including Auto Industry Division, Limited Gaming Division, Division of Racing, and Liquor & Tobacco. When the new Marijuana regulations were enacted, Ms. Brohl’s Department was tasked to implement them.

“We were neither proponents nor opponents of legalizing marijuana, we were charged to fulfill the regulations with complete openness and transparency, so all stakeholders were engaged and informed, Ms. Brohl said.

Colorado Marijuana History

The intent of the legislation was to move the control of marijuana out of the criminal world into a regulated market. Amendment 20 made medical marijuana legal in 2000. This Caregiver Model allows home cultivation by patients and caregivers of 2 ounces or 6 plants per patient and requires a physician recommendation.

Colorado Marijuana Legalization Enactment

In 2010, House Bill 10-1284 created the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) in the Department of Revenue to regulate cultivators, products manufacturers, and retail centers. This bill mandated financial and criminal background checks and authorized oversight by State and local authorities. It allows local authorities to ban commercial medical marijuana businesses.

Amendment 64, passed in 2012, allows personal growth and use of marijuana by individuals 21 years or older, who may possess, use, display, purchase, transport, and transfer (without remuneration), to individuals 21 years or older one ounce or less of marijuana.

This amendment regulates the growth, manufacture and sale of retail marijuana, and created a system of licensed marijuana establishments, with mandated financial and criminal background checks overseen by state and local authorities.

The law allows local authorities to ban commercial retail marijuana businesses. As of April 14, 2017:

217 local jurisdictions have banned both medical and recreational marijuana

81 local jurisdictions allow both medical and recreational marijuana

14 local jurisdictions allow only medical marijuana

9 local jurisdictions allow only recreational marijuana

Task Force

The Amendment 64 Task Force (2012) was convened by Executive Order and was charged to create and deliver an implementation report to the Governor, the General Assembly, and the Attorney General. The Task Force was comprised of all stakeholders, including State Legislators, representatives from Public Health, Public, Safety, Agriculture, Revenue, the A64 Campaign, the marijuana industry, marijuana consumers, a law professor, a physician, Juvenile Justice, District Attorney, Attorney General, a Public Defender, the Municipal League, representatives of the Counties, the business community, labor and employees. They delivered their Task Force Report in mid-March 2013.

Continued collaboration from the stakeholder workgroups has allowed us to address problems as they arise and develop solutions that work for everyone. There is good compliance with all the provisions because we had collaboratively negotiated rule-making.

Implementation Steps

Once the Task Force delivered its report, progress happened in an accelerated 6-month timeframe. A Joint Select Legislative Committee was convened mid-March 2013, and legislation was passed and signed into law in May 2013. Temporary rules were promulgated by July, 2013, and permanent rules were adopted by 9spetember, 2013.  By October 1, just 5 months after the legislation was passed, Ms. Brohl’s department was accepting applications for marijuana licenses and issued the first licenses by January 1, 2014.

Guideposts for the Implementation

The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) objectives are to implement policies designed to protect public health and safety, prevent the distribution of marijuana to minors, thwart the involvement of criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels in the legal marijuana industry, and block the diversion of legalized marijuana to other states.

Regulations to protect public safety include requirements that premises that handle marijuana be licensed, provide video surveillance of the entire premises, install defined alarm system requirements and industrial grade locks, and observe restrictions on hours of operations. Additionally, there are restrictions on purchase amounts and on edibles, in addition, on-site consumption is prohibited. There are regulations protecting minors and enforcement of underage compliance checks.  Child-resistant packaging is required, extensive labeling, advertising restrictions, controls on waste removal, and production limits.

Production Controls

An innovative seed-to-sale tracking mechanism starts with an RFID tag on each plant, which is attached to the plant throughout cultivation, harvesting, product creation and distribution, and even through product recalls.  Production is managed to meet projected demand, allowing the purchase of 1 ounce at a time for personal use and 2 ounces for medicinal use.

Restrictions on Edibles

Edibles became a source of concern when 2 deaths were attributed to the excess consumption of edible marijuana products (cookies). Edibles often are purchased by less experienced marijuana users and may take up to 4 hours to have an effect. As a result of the deaths, emergency rules were promulgated on July 31, 2014 and permanent rules became effective October 1, 2014, with compliance required by February 2015 to allow for implementation.

A study was conducted to determine a purchase amount equivalency of THC in edible form and to create a label that would provide adequate information so there would be no accidental consumption and no confusion over serving size.

The new rules require child-resistant packaging for edible retail marijuana products, and limit the serving size of an edible retail marijuana product to 10mg of THC and or 100mg in a multiple serving product, with clear scoring for single dose sizes and labeling including explicit serving size, number of servings and total THC.  The State also instituted incentives for the production of single-serving edible retail marijuana products.

In October, 2016, additional rules restricted making the marijuana products attractive to children and prohibited the appearance and words related to “candy” or “candies,” including prohibiting pre-manufactured products (No Gummy Bears).

In addition, each marijuana package and each individual edible product was required to be marked with the Colorado Universal Symbol. Changes enacted in October, 2017 further prohibited production or sale of edible retail marijuana products or edible medical marijuana infused products in the shape of humans, animals or fruit.

Rulemaking Principles

The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) created a structure of rules that are:

Defensible: that is, rules grounded in law that can be defended at a hearing and that provide licensees reasonable assurance that they are in compliance if the rules are followed.

Operable: Including the ability to integrate rules into current business processes, and the ability of the MED to monitor and enforce them.

Transparent: The rules clearly articulate expectations of Licensees and licensee operations open for inspection/monitoring.

Systematic: The rules leverage technology, and are planned, methodical, repeatable.

MED Structure

Licensing

MED plays a gatekeeping role in the licensing process, ensuring that licensees are of good business and moral character. The MED follows the money in and out to detect any criminal involvement and to ensure proper financial transactions. MED Occupational Licenses or Badges are required for anyone working within Colorado's marijuana industries. Every worker from field hand to retail assistant is licensed, and one-year of residency is required for owners. As of July 1, 2017, 3008 licenses have been granted, half for medicinal use and half for adult use applications.

Enforcement

The Field Enforcement activities of MED include initial, routine, and risk-based inspections, as well as criminal and complaint investigations, compliance monitoring and data analytics, and underage compliance. Field Enforcement agents are responsible for issuance of criminal summonses for underage compliance violations and joint law enforcement operations.

Product Testing

The MED is responsible for assuring the correct potency and homogeneity of marijuana products. They also test for residual solvents and microbials of marijuana products, and for pesticides on plants at medical and adult-use cultivations.

Marijuana Taxation

Colorado imposes a 15% excise tax from cultivation to processor, a 15% tax at sale, in addition to the 2.9% regular sales tax. To date, Colorado’s marijuana taxes have brought $440 million in revenue.

Mandatory electronic filing automates the process of tax collection and surveillance. Tax Compliance Agents enforce collections on retail marijuana businesses with tax delinquencies, and, every 3 years, licensees undergo a 100% business audit. Criminal Tax Special Agents investigate cases of criminal marijuana tax evasion and Tax Examiners provide customer service for marijuana tax businesses and assist them with account and filing issues.

Some of the marijuana revenue has been used for construction of new schools as well as general construction and renovation of existing school facility systems and structures under Colorado’s BEST school construction grant program. The tax revenue funds the MED budget and regulatory oversight activities, as well as youth prevention programs, substance abuse prevention and treatment, and public education campaigns.

MED Ongoing Costs

The 2016-17 MED Budget of $12.22M funds its 108 full-time positions. The 19 tax agents and examiners are funded through resources appropriated by the legislature in the TAX Budget of $1.36M.

Conclusion

Colorado listened to the voice of the voters and, in a very short timeframe, successfully implemented Amendment 64, developed the structures and rules to build an operable program, provided active compliance monitoring and ongoing taxation activities. Today, the Department of Revenue MED provides ongoing regulation and licensing activities, operates 4 offices, allowing walk-in occupational licensing, and 90-day business licensing.

 

Legalizing Marijuana Part Two:
Massachusetts

 Stan Rosenberg

President of the Senate
State of Massachusetts

Stan Rosenberg, President of the Senate, State of Massachusetts, reported the process that led to legalizing marijuana in his State and described three stages of implementation for Massachusetts’ law.

First, setting up the regulatory agency.

Second, creating the enforcement codes and policies.

Third, creating policies for public safety and health awareness, providing education on the deleterious effects of marijuana on the developing brain, and establishing addiction prevention and treatment services.

History of the Law

Massachusetts voters drove the legalization of marijuana, beginning with decriminalizing the possession of 1 ounce of marijuana or less in 2008, approving medical marijuana in 2012, and launching a ballot measure in 2016 to legalize recreational marijuana use.

Special Committee

Once that ballot measure was initiated by the voters, Mr. Rosenberg, as President of the Senate, set up a Special Committee to gather substantive background information for the Senate to drive the public discussion. Their first investigation was a 4-day visit to Colorado, sponsored by the Milbank Memorial Fund, to get insights on their marijuana legalization process.

Most of the 8 members of the Committee were undecided about legalizing marijuana when they went to Colorado to see their marijuana regulations in action. When they returned, all except one, were opposed. Their report to the Senate was not a decision, but rather a matrix of public policy questions that needed to be addressed. The Special Committee’s recommendation was, “Don’t do it.” When legalizing marijuana was approved by the voters, the Committee advised the State to go slow, noting that only 5 jurisdictions in the US had done so.

Public Comment Period

Mr. Rosenberg met weekly with the Governor and the Speaker of the House to plan the implementation and make any reasonable necessary changes to the bill. A Joint Committee was convened and engaged a 6-month public process, including all stakeholders, to consider details of the implementation plan. The negotiations, though sometimes contentious, continued without a break, but were slow in progressing, Mr. Rosenberg reported.

The negotiations brought agreement on three key provisions concerning local control, taxation, and addiction prevention and treatment. Mr. Rosenberg stressed the importance of local control, which allows municipalities to decide if they will allow legal marijuana use and also to regulate where it can be sold.   To date, 38 towns have rejected marijuana legalization and 100 communities are regulating where marijuana may be sold.

Tax Rate

On the ballot initiative, voters had approved a 12% tax rate on marijuana sales with revenues to be shared by the State and local governments. But the tax rate has been subject to debate, with the House proposing a 28% tax increase.

On July 28, 2017, subsequent to Mr. Rosenberg’s presentation, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed bipartisan legislation to update state laws governing the cultivation, sale, and adult use of marijuana. The law sets the special excise tax on adult use marijuana sales at 10.75% to support the costs of regulating the industry and to fund initiatives in public health, public safety, police training, restorative justice and workforce development.

Local Control

There is a local option for cities and towns to add a 3% tax on top of the combined 17% between sales and the marijuana specific excise tax. Medical marijuana remains untaxed. The final law protects the ability of cities and towns to exercise local control to ban or limit the development of marijuana establishments to address municipal concerns.

Implementation

Mr. Rosenberg further described the three stages of implementing marijuana regulation. First, the agency for regulating marijuana growth, production, and sales and licensing sellers had to be established. Setting up the agency cost about $12 million, Mr. Rosenberg said. Secondly, enforcement codes and policies had to be defined to cover inspections, complaints, and monitoring compliance. Finally, public health and safety policies and preparation were required, including training police and creating campaigns to educate youth that the brain is not developed until age 25 and excessive use of marijuana before that affects the brain for life, as well as setting up addiction prevention and treatment programs.

Initially, the Public Health department was charged to implement the law; however, the new law establishes a Cannabis Control Commission and a Cannabis Advisory Board to work with state officials, local officials, law enforcement, and all other stakeholders involved to regulate both the adult use and medical marijuana industries, including setting potency limits for edible marijuana products and packaging requirements that conform to a detailed list of health and safety protections.

Conclusion

Mr. Rosenberg said, “The Massachusetts legislature did not want to legalize adult recreational marijuana use, but we acted as the voters decreed.”

Sen. Kevin Grantham (CO) and Sen. Susan Wagle (KS) discussed the impacts of Colorado’s legalization of marijuana.

Discussion

Sen. David Long (IN): How do the laws affect employees and employers who have a Zero Tolerance policy.

Ms. Brohl: At first, there was no change in employer/employee relations. It was still legal to have Zero Tolerance policies as long as they were clearly communicated. However, an employee who had a prescription for medical marijuana and was not impaired while using marijuana at work, failed a drug test and was fired. The case went to the State Supreme Court, which ruled that it was legal for businesses to enforce Zero Tolerance policies.  However, Ms. Brohl noted that businesses may be forced to change their Zero Tolerance policies in order to get the pool of workers they need.

Mr. Rosenberg: There has been no discussion of Zero Tolerance policies in Massachusetts. Businesses can set their own rules. But determining impairment due to marijuana is not like giving a roadside sobriety test for alcohol. There is no roadside test for marijuana.

Sen. Ginny Burdick (OR): I am Co-chair the Joint Committee on Marijuana. In 1998, voters approved medical marijuana. In Oregon, we have growers producing enough for hundreds of patients. They provide 1-2 ounces per month to patients with a prescription card, and then the excess goes to dispensaries. But there was not enough medical need to consume this excess legally. Ms. Brohl stressed the importance of ensuring that the medical marijuana system is regulated. Now Oregon has seed-to-sale controls for medical marijuana. The Oregon legislature had to change the initiative to make it effective. In 2014, voters approved adult recreational use of marijuana. Has Colorado consolidated medical and adult use marijuana policies?

Ms. Brohl: We observed that marijuana was cultivated legally but distributed illegally. So two bills were passed. One caps the amount that patient caregivers may grow at 12 plants per home. If anyone wants to grow more than that, they have to go through the rigorous commercial approval process and can only grow in industrial areas.

The second bill allocates resources to the police for compliance checks. The Legislature had to define the fine line clarifying what is legal and what is not. A case at the State Supreme Court determined that seized plants do not have to be returned to the growers.

Sen. Mary Kay Papen (NM): New Mexico has legalized medical marijuana, and there is a voter push to legalize adult recreational use, but neither the Senate nor House have been willing to sponsor legislation. The voters are trying to get a Constitutional Amendment approved and the local tribes are eager to start growing. What has been Colorado’s experience with issues of tribal sovereignty and State control? We have gaming compacts with the tribes but cannot check their machines due to sovereignty issues.

Mr. Brohl: Whoever designs the marijuana regulatory system will control it. If you design the system in the legislature, then you can change it with legislation. If it is designed through Constitutional Amendment, then you can only change it through the Constitutional process.

Colorado’s MED meets with the tribes and has compacts with them. Just as the State helped regulate gaming, for example, providing help with backgrounds checks, we will help with marijuana issues. However, the tribes have shown no interest in marijuana growing to date, but this may change and it will require a compact. Whatever is agreed in the compact will dictate how much monitoring is allowed.

Sen. Larry Obhof (OH): Nationally, about 5% of the workforce will fail a drug test. In Colorado, the failure rate has risen 11% since legalization. How has legalized marijuana affected workforce development? Is it harder to find qualified workers? Has the high school drop-out rate increased and college attendance decreased in Colorado, as it has in Ohio?

Ms. Brohl: The rates for high school graduation and college attendance in Colorado have not changed, and neither has the rate of youth use of marijuana changed. Colorado’s unemployment rate, at 2.3%, is the lowest in the nation. Our problem is finding enough high-tech workers for that sector.  Meanwhile the marijuana business has created jobs; we have licensed 35,000 workers in the marijuana sector, including electricians, field workers, horticulturalists and construction workers.

Sen. Stan Rosenberg (MA): Massachusetts allocated marijuana revenues to workforce development activities in communities that have marijuana facilities. We have worked to ensure that not only big companies get licenses but also allocate them to low-income communities and communities of color. We spread the licenses out so they are locally owned and operated rather than have big players take over the licenses.

Sen. Bob Peterson (OH): Medical marijuana is legal in Ohio, but for the Federal government, marijuana is still illegal. How are the monies from marijuana sales handled? The money cannot be deposited in a bank due to federal regulations. Is it a cash-only business? How is the marijuana sales tax tabulated and collected?

Ms. Brohl: All sellers are mandated to do electronic filing, and they are subject to 100% tax audits every three years, and their books must be open to investigators at all times. Based on our marijuana tracking system, we know how much they are getting and what their revenues and taxes should be. Taxes are paid by cash, electronic funds transfer (EFT) and money orders and these are collected with dual safe guards, video surveillance, just like gaming. But there’s still concern when large cash remittances come in on tax day, and we provide a lot of security during those times.

Taking Marijuana Money to the Bank

Sen. Eduardo Bhatia (PR): The Federal Prosecutor said he wants to prosecute even those who are involved in medical marijuana. How will this affect Colorado?

Ms. Brohl: Colorado’s marijuana law is legal by the State Constitution and by State statutes. Colorado will regulate marijuana as long as we are allowed to. If you remove the regulated market, only the criminal market remains. There is always a risk that Colorado’s laws could be declared illegal at the Federal level.

Sen. Stan Rosenberg: If necessary, the state Attorneys General will sue the Federal government for interference in the State law.

Sen. Ron Kouchi (HI): Our State issued 8 licenses for medical marijuana facilities. But they were very slow to get up and running and late to open. Now 7 of the 8 are closing.

Sen. Dominick Ruggiero (RI): There is a Joint Resolution before the House and Senate of Rhode Island, and we have legalized medical marijuana, but the implementation has not been handled well by the State. One thing that has not been mandated is where you can use marijuana. Should it be prohibited near schools? Should consumption be limited to on personal property only?

Sen. Stan Rosenberg (MA): Our statute dictates “no public consumption.” The laws restrict where marijuana can be sold and consumed. There are strict penalties for selling it near schools.  However, the fragrance of marijuana is everywhere. It is not clear when or if the police will enforce the law. It’s an open question: Is using marijuana in your front or back yard or on the balcony of your apartment public consumption? In addition, out-of-state visitors can purchase marijuana here, but cannot smoke it in public, so they purchase edibles. They may not be familiar with them and this can cause problems.

Moderator Tom Finneran: It’s been reported that there is a clustering of marijuana facilities on Interstate highways where teens from neighboring States fill up their car trunks. How is law enforcement dealing with these large purchases that seem to be destined for out-of-Colorado sale and consumption?

Ms. Brohl: Under-age compliance checks are frequent and regular and violations carry stiff penalties and criminal sanctions. Business can lose their licenses or have them suspended and be subject to hearings.

We also track demand and can predict the level of demand for Colorado in-state use. We get an Annual Report that indicates how much marijuana was sold by each licensee. Currently, licensed businesses are meeting 75-80% of Colorado demand. However, it became clear that non-licensed growers and sources were selling outside Colorado. This led to the 2 gray market bills that were passed, and now there is a concerted effort and funding to allow law enforcement to check compliance rigorously.

Sen. David Long (IN): Have there been increases in Driving Under the Influence (DUI) since recreational marijuana became legal?

Ms. Brohl: Because there is no roadside test for marijuana, there is a level of presumption that law enforcement can use to say a driver is impaired. But this can be rebutted with evidence or in court. There was some increase in DUIs so Colorado created a Drug Regulation Task Force which is gathering data on the increase. It is important to determine ahead of time what data you want to capture. Also, it takes time for the data to normalize. You have to determine if the increase is because of less stigma, or better reporting, or increased use.

Sen. Martin Looney (CT): Colorado’s marijuana taxes brought in $192 million in new revenue in 2017. How are you using this? Are you providing tax relief? 55-60% of Connecticut voters say they want to legalize marijuana. But there is a debate over whether this is a good tax revenue measure or a bad public health issue.

Ms. Brohl: Marijuana tax revenues are allocated to marijuana-related purposes, as voted by the public. They are used to find new programs such as addressing homelessness. Colorado raised its marijuana sales tax to 15% and lowered other sales taxes from 9% to 0%.

Speaker Biographies

Barbara Brohl

Barbara Brohl leads the varied functions of the Colorado Department of Revenue. She is responsible for Colorado’s Tax Division, the Division of Motor Vehicles, Lottery, and Enforcement for Gaming, Liquor and Tobacco, Racing, and Marijuana. The department has more than 1,500 employees and annually brings in more than $11 billion in fees and taxes for the state.

Brohl also co-chaired the Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force, set up by Executive Order after Colorado voters approved the constitutional amendment that allows for the sale and consumption of marijuana by persons age 21 and older. The amendment also requires regulation of marijuana growth, manufacture and sale. The Task Force was charged with forwarding recommendations to the governor, general assembly and attorney general regarding how to the state should move forward with Amendment 64. In addition, Brohl helped to develop legislation and rules around regulatory and enforcement matters for this industry. Responsible for implementing the first-in-the-world regulatory program for legalization and regulation of marijuana for recreational use, Brohl is seen as an expert in Marijuana Regulation. She has consulted with governments on both national and international levels to present “The Colorado Model”.

Prior to her move to state government, Barb was an attorney practicing telecommunications law with Qwest Communications, representing the company in multi-million dollar commercial transactions as well as addressing all legal and regulatory matters for a 23-state region.

Stan Rosenberg

Senator Stanley C. Rosenberg was elected 93rd President of the Massachusetts Senate by his colleagues in January, 2015.

Throughout his career in public service, he has remained steadfastly committed to Massachusetts values – like supporting working families, protecting our environment, increasing government transparency, and ensuring all students have the opportunity to succeed. To his neighbors in the Pioneer Valley, Stan is seen as an accessible reformer and a pragmatic progressive. Stan was a chief strategist behind a 2000 bill aimed at curtailing racial profiling, and a key leader in the battle on Beacon Hill to preserve the newly-won right of same-sex marriage in 2003.

Stan’s attention seldom strays far from fighting for working families and growing our economy from the bottom up. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways & Means, he passed a long-overdue wage hike for the Commonwealth’s lowest-paid human service workers. His tireless work to increase funding for education from early childhood to college has driven the creation of an innovation economy which keeps Massachusetts competitive. In 1998 he secured passage of the first Massachusetts Earned Income Tax Credit with a state match of 15% of the federal credit. In 2015, he spearheaded the first EITC increase since its inception, helping over 400,000 working families by increasing it to 23% of the federal level. As Majority Leader, he helped secure votes to increase the minimum wage in three steps to $11/ hour, giving low-wage workers a much-needed raise. Months into his tenure as Senate President, he launched an ambitious “WorkFirst” Program to divert the long-term unemployed and underemployed into stable employment and off government assistance.

Stan is a 1977 graduate of UMass Amherst, where he earned a B.A. in Community Development & Arts Management. Shortly after graduating, he began his work in public service as an aide to former State Senator and Congressman John Olver.

"We were neither proponents nor opponents of legalizing marijuana, we were charged to fulfill the regulations with complete openness and transparency, so all stakeholders were engaged and informed."

— Barbara Brohl

The intent of the legislation was to move the control of marijuana out of the criminal world into a regulated market.

Continued collaboration from the stakeholder workgroups has allowed us to address problems as they arise and develop solutions that work for everyone. There is good compliance with all the provisions because we had collaboratively negotiated rule-making.

An innovative seed-to-sale tracking mechanism starts with an RFID tag on each plant, which is attached to the plant throughout cultivation, harvesting, product creation and distribution, and even through product recalls.

Colorado Universal Symbol for Medical Marijuana and Retail Marijuana

 

Every worker from field hand to retail assistant is licensed, and one-year of residency is required for owners. As of July 1, 2017, 3008 licenses have been granted, half for medicinal use and half for adult use applications.

Colorado’s
Marijuana Taxes*

Total  Tax               
Collected in           $19.5M
FY13-14

Total Tax                
Collected in           $88.2M
FY14-15

Total Tax                
Collected in           $141.2M
FY15-16

Total Tax
Collected in           $191.9M
FY16-17
(to date)

*$440 million to date

Most of the 8 members of the Committee were undecided about legalizing marijuana when they went to Colorado to see their marijuana regulations in action. When they returned, all except one, were opposed.

The negotiations brought agreement on three key provisions concerning local control, taxation, and addiction prevention and treatment.

The law sets the special excise tax on adult use marijuana sales at 10.75% to support the costs of regulating the industry and to fund initiatives in public health, public safety, police training, restorative justice and workforce development.

... the three stages of implementing marijuana regulation. First, the agency for regulating marijuana growth, production, and sales and licensing sellers had to be established.

“The Massachusetts legislature did not want to legalize adult recreational marijuana use, but we acted as the voters decreed.”

Whoever designs the marijuana regulatory system will control it. If you design the system in the legislature, then you can change it with legislation.

Nationally, about 5% of the workforce will fail a drug test. In Colorado, the failure rate has risen 11% since legalization.

Some community financial institutions have become more open to serving the cannabis industry, since the US Treasury issued guidance indicating they would not prosecute if the banks met certain conditions.

Stan Rosenberg

Barbara Brohl

Sen. David Long

Sen. Ginny Burdick

Sen. Mary Kay Papen

Sen. Bob Peterson

Sen. Eduardo Bhatia

Sen. Ron Kouchi

Tom Finneran

Sen. Martin Looney

CONTACT

Senate Presidents’ Forum

579 Broadway

Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706

 

Tel: 914-693-1818

Copyright © 2018 Senate Presidents' Forum. All rights reserved.

JULY 2017 CONFERENCE

Legalizing Marijuana Part One:
The Colorado Experience

 Barbara Brohl

Executive Director
Department of Revenue
State of Colorado

Barbara Brohl, Executive Director, Department of Revenue, State of Colorado, led the State’s efforts to implement Amendments 20 and 64, which legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use. She described the complex process that included representation of all stakeholders and led to the development of the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) in the Department of Revenue. Ms. Brohl provided in-depth detail on how this process evolved and continues to change as new issues arise. She detailed step-by-step best practices to implement these laws.

Ms. Brohl manages the Department of Revenue’s 1,500 employees who oversee the Division of Motor Vehicles, Taxation, Lottery and Enforcement, including Auto Industry Division, Limited Gaming Division, Division of Racing, and Liquor & Tobacco. When the new Marijuana regulations were enacted, Ms. Brohl’s Department was tasked to implement them.

“We were neither proponents nor opponents of legalizing marijuana, we were charged to fulfill the regulations with complete openness and transparency, so all stakeholders were engaged and informed, Ms. Brohl said.

"We were neither proponents nor opponents of legalizing marijuana, we were charged to fulfill the regulations with complete openness and transparency, so all stakeholders were engaged and informed."— Barbara Brohl

Colorado Marijuana History

The intent of the legislation was to move the control of marijuana out of the criminal world into a regulated market. Amendment 20 made medical marijuana legal in 2000. This Caregiver Model allows home cultivation by patients and caregivers of 2 ounces or 6 plants per patient and requires a physician recommendation.

The intent of the legislation was to move the control of marijuana out of the criminal world into a regulated market.

Colorado Marijuana Legalization Enactment

In 2010, House Bill 10-1284 created the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) in the Department of Revenue to regulate cultivators, products manufacturers, and retail centers. This bill mandated financial and criminal background checks and authorized oversight by State and local authorities. It allows local authorities to ban commercial medical marijuana businesses.

Amendment 64, passed in 2012, allows personal growth and use of marijuana by individuals 21 years or older, who may possess, use, display, purchase, transport, and transfer (without remuneration), to individuals 21 years or older one ounce or less of marijuana.

This amendment regulates the growth, manufacture and sale of retail marijuana, and created a system of licensed marijuana establishments, with mandated financial and criminal background checks overseen by state and local authorities.

The law allows local authorities to ban commercial retail marijuana businesses. As of April 14, 2017:

217 local jurisdictions have banned both medical and recreational marijuana

81 local jurisdictions allow both medical and recreational marijuana

14 local jurisdictions allow only medical marijuana

9 local jurisdictions allow only recreational marijuana

Task Force

The Amendment 64 Task Force (2012) was convened by Executive Order and was charged to create and deliver an implementation report to the Governor, the General Assembly, and the Attorney General. The Task Force was comprised of all stakeholders, including State Legislators, representatives from Public Health, Public, Safety, Agriculture, Revenue, the A64 Campaign, the marijuana industry, marijuana consumers, a law professor, a physician, Juvenile Justice, District Attorney, Attorney General, a Public Defender, the Municipal League, representatives of the Counties, the business community, labor and employees. They delivered their Task Force Report in mid-March 2013.

Continued collaboration from the stakeholder workgroups has allowed us to address problems as they arise and develop solutions that work for everyone. There is good compliance with all the provisions because we had collaboratively negotiated rule-making.

Continued collaboration from the stakeholder workgroups has allowed us to address problems as they arise and develop solutions that work for everyone. There is good compliance with all the provisions because we had collaboratively negotiated rule-making.

Implementation Steps

Once the Task Force delivered its report, progress happened in an accelerated 6-month timeframe. A Joint Select Legislative Committee was convened mid-March 2013, and legislation was passed and signed into law in May 2013. Temporary rules were promulgated by July, 2013, and permanent rules were adopted by 9spetember, 2013.  By October 1, just 5 months after the legislation was passed, Ms. Brohl’s department was accepting applications for marijuana licenses and issued the first licenses by January 1, 2014.

Guideposts for the Implementation

The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) objectives are to implement policies designed to protect public health and safety, prevent the distribution of marijuana to minors, thwart the involvement of criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels in the legal marijuana industry, and block the diversion of legalized marijuana to other states.

Regulations to protect public safety include requirements that premises that handle marijuana be licensed, provide video surveillance of the entire premises, install defined alarm system requirements and industrial grade locks, and observe restrictions on hours of operations. Additionally, there are restrictions on purchase amounts and on edibles, in addition, on-site consumption is prohibited. There are regulations protecting minors and enforcement of underage compliance checks.  Child-resistant packaging is required, extensive labeling, advertising restrictions, controls on waste removal, and production limits.

Production Controls

An innovative seed-to-sale tracking mechanism starts with an RFID tag on each plant, which is attached to the plant throughout cultivation, harvesting, product creation and distribution, and even through product recalls.  Production is managed to meet projected demand, allowing the purchase of 1 ounce at a time for personal use and 2 ounces for medicinal use.

An innovative seed-to-sale tracking mechanism starts with an RFID tag on each plant, which is attached to the plant throughout cultivation, harvesting, product creation and distribution, and even through product recalls.

Restrictions on Edibles

Edibles became a source of concern when 2 deaths were attributed to the excess consumption of edible marijuana products (cookies). Edibles often are purchased by less experienced marijuana users and may take up to 4 hours to have an effect. As a result of the deaths, emergency rules were promulgated on July 31, 2014 and permanent rules became effective October 1, 2014, with compliance required by February 2015 to allow for implementation.

A study was conducted to determine a purchase amount equivalency of THC in edible form and to create a label that would provide adequate information so there would be no accidental consumption and no confusion over serving size.

The new rules require child-resistant packaging for edible retail marijuana products, and limit the serving size of an edible retail marijuana product to 10mg of THC and or 100mg in a multiple serving product, with clear scoring for single dose sizes and labeling including explicit serving size, number of servings and total THC.  The State also instituted incentives for the production of single-serving edible retail marijuana products.

In October, 2016, additional rules restricted making the marijuana products attractive to children and prohibited the appearance and words related to “candy” or “candies,” including prohibiting pre-manufactured products (No Gummy Bears).

In addition, each marijuana package and each individual edible product was required to be marked with the Colorado Universal Symbol. Changes enacted in October, 2017 further prohibited production or sale of edible retail marijuana products or edible medical marijuana infused products in the shape of humans, animals or fruit.

Colorado Universal Symbol for Medical Marijuana and Retail Marijuana 

Rulemaking Principles

The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) created a structure of rules that are:

Defensible: that is, rules grounded in law that can be defended at a hearing and that provide licensees reasonable assurance that they are in compliance if the rules are followed.

Operable: Including the ability to integrate rules into current business processes, and the ability of the MED to monitor and enforce them.

Transparent: The rules clearly articulate expectations of Licensees and licensee operations open for inspection/monitoring.

Systematic: The rules leverage technology, and are planned, methodical, repeatable.

MED Structure

Licensing

MED plays a gatekeeping role in the licensing process, ensuring that licensees are of good business and moral character. The MED follows the money in and out to detect any criminal involvement and to ensure proper financial transactions. MED Occupational Licenses or Badges are required for anyone working within Colorado's marijuana industries. Every worker from field hand to retail assistant is licensed, and one-year of residency is required for owners. As of July 1, 2017, 3008 licenses have been granted, half for medicinal use and half for adult use applications.

Every worker from field hand to retail assistant is licensed, and one-year of residency is required for owners. As of July 1, 2017, 3008 licenses have been granted, half for medicinal use and half for adult use applications.

Enforcement

The Field Enforcement activities of MED include initial, routine, and risk-based inspections, as well as criminal and complaint investigations, compliance monitoring and data analytics, and underage compliance. Field Enforcement agents are responsible for issuance of criminal summonses for underage compliance violations and joint law enforcement operations.

Product Testing

The MED is responsible for assuring the correct potency and homogeneity of marijuana products. They also test for residual solvents and microbials of marijuana products, and for pesticides on plants at medical and adult-use cultivations.

Marijuana Taxation

Colorado imposes a 15% excise tax from cultivation to processor, a 15% tax at sale, in addition to the 2.9% regular sales tax. To date, Colorado’s marijuana taxes have brought $440 million in revenue.

Colorado’s
Marijuana Taxes*
Total  Tax               
Collected in           $19.5M
FY13-14
Total Tax                
Collected in           $88.2M
FY14-15
Total Tax                
Collected in           $141.2M
FY15-16
Total Tax
Collected in           $191.9M
FY16-17
(to date)
*$440 million to date

Mandatory electronic filing automates the process of tax collection and surveillance. Tax Compliance Agents enforce collections on retail marijuana businesses with tax delinquencies, and, every 3 years, licensees undergo a 100% business audit. Criminal Tax Special Agents investigate cases of criminal marijuana tax evasion and Tax Examiners provide customer service for marijuana tax businesses and assist them with account and filing issues.

Some of the marijuana revenue has been used for construction of new schools as well as general construction and renovation of existing school facility systems and structures under Colorado’s BEST school construction grant program. The tax revenue funds the MED budget and regulatory oversight activities, as well as youth prevention programs, substance abuse prevention and treatment, and public education campaigns.

MED Ongoing Costs

The 2016-17 MED Budget of $12.22M funds its 108 full-time positions. The 19 tax agents and examiners are funded through resources appropriated by the legislature in the TAX Budget of $1.36M.

Conclusion

Colorado listened to the voice of the voters and, in a very short timeframe, successfully implemented Amendment 64, developed the structures and rules to build an operable program, provided active compliance monitoring and ongoing taxation activities. Today, the Department of Revenue MED provides ongoing regulation and licensing activities, operates 4 offices, allowing walk-in occupational licensing, and 90-day business licensing.

 

Legalizing Marijuana Part Two:
Massachusetts

 Stan Rosenberg

President of the Senate
State of Massachusetts

Stan Rosenberg, President of the Senate, State of Massachusetts, reported the process that led to legalizing marijuana in his State and described three stages of implementation for Massachusetts’ law.

First, setting up the regulatory agency.

Second, creating the enforcement codes and policies.

Third, creating policies for public safety and health awareness, providing education on the deleterious effects of marijuana on the developing brain, and establishing addiction prevention and treatment services.

History of the Law

Massachusetts voters drove the legalization of marijuana, beginning with decriminalizing the possession of 1 ounce of marijuana or less in 2008, approving medical marijuana in 2012, and launching a ballot measure in 2016 to legalize recreational marijuana use.

Special Committee

Once that ballot measure was initiated by the voters, Mr. Rosenberg, as President of the Senate, set up a Special Committee to gather substantive background information for the Senate to drive the public discussion. Their first investigation was a 4-day visit to Colorado, sponsored by the Milbank Memorial Fund, to get insights on their marijuana legalization process.

Most of the 8 members of the Committee were undecided about legalizing marijuana when they went to Colorado to see their marijuana regulations in action. When they returned, all except one, were opposed. Their report to the Senate was not a decision, but rather a matrix of public policy questions that needed to be addressed. The Special Committee’s recommendation was, “Don’t do it.” When legalizing marijuana was approved by the voters, the Committee advised the State to go slow, noting that only 5 jurisdictions in the US had done so.

Most of the 8 members of the Committee were undecided about legalizing marijuana when they went to Colorado to see their marijuana regulations in action. When they returned, all except one, were opposed.

Public Comment Period

Mr. Rosenberg met weekly with the Governor and the Speaker of the House to plan the implementation and make any reasonable necessary changes to the bill. A Joint Committee was convened and engaged a 6-month public process, including all stakeholders, to consider details of the implementation plan. The negotiations, though sometimes contentious, continued without a break, but were slow in progressing, Mr. Rosenberg reported.

The negotiations brought agreement on three key provisions concerning local control, taxation, and addiction prevention and treatment. Mr. Rosenberg stressed the importance of local control, which allows municipalities to decide if they will allow legal marijuana use and also to regulate where it can be sold.   To date, 38 towns have rejected marijuana legalization and 100 communities are regulating where marijuana may be sold.

The negotiations brought agreement on three key provisions concerning local control, taxation, and addiction prevention and treatment.

Tax Rate

On the ballot initiative, voters had approved a 12% tax rate on marijuana sales with revenues to be shared by the State and local governments. But the tax rate has been subject to debate, with the House proposing a 28% tax increase.

On July 28, 2017, subsequent to Mr. Rosenberg’s presentation, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed bipartisan legislation to update state laws governing the cultivation, sale, and adult use of marijuana. The law sets the special excise tax on adult use marijuana sales at 10.75% to support the costs of regulating the industry and to fund initiatives in public health, public safety, police training, restorative justice and workforce development.

The law sets the special excise tax on adult use marijuana sales at 10.75% to support the costs of regulating the industry and to fund initiatives in public health, public safety, police training, restorative justice and workforce development.

Local Control

There is a local option for cities and towns to add a 3% tax on top of the combined 17% between sales and the marijuana specific excise tax. Medical marijuana remains untaxed. The final law protects the ability of cities and towns to exercise local control to ban or limit the development of marijuana establishments to address municipal concerns.

Implementation

Mr. Rosenberg further described the three stages of implementing marijuana regulation. First, the agency for regulating marijuana growth, production, and sales and licensing sellers had to be established. Setting up the agency cost about $12 million, Mr. Rosenberg said. Secondly, enforcement codes and policies had to be defined to cover inspections, complaints, and monitoring compliance. Finally, public health and safety policies and preparation were required, including training police and creating campaigns to educate youth that the brain is not developed until age 25 and excessive use of marijuana before that affects the brain for life, as well as setting up addiction prevention and treatment programs.

... the three stages of implementing marijuana regulation. First, the agency for regulating marijuana growth, production, and sales and licensing sellers had to be established.

Initially, the Public Health department was charged to implement the law; however, the new law establishes a Cannabis Control Commission and a Cannabis Advisory Board to work with state officials, local officials, law enforcement, and all other stakeholders involved to regulate both the adult use and medical marijuana industries, including setting potency limits for edible marijuana products and packaging requirements that conform to a detailed list of health and safety protections.

Conclusion

Mr. Rosenberg said, “The Massachusetts legislature did not want to legalize adult recreational marijuana use, but we acted as the voters decreed.”

“The Massachusetts legislature did not want to legalize adult recreational marijuana use, but we acted as the voters decreed.”

Sen. Kevin Grantham (CO) and Sen. Susan Wagle (KS) discussed the impacts of Colorado’s legalization of marijuana.

Discussion

Sen. David Long (IN): How do the laws affect employees and employers who have a Zero Tolerance policy.

Ms. Brohl: At first, there was no change in employer/employee relations. It was still legal to have Zero Tolerance policies as long as they were clearly communicated. However, an employee who had a prescription for medical marijuana and was not impaired while using marijuana at work, failed a drug test and was fired. The case went to the State Supreme Court, which ruled that it was legal for businesses to enforce Zero Tolerance policies.  However, Ms. Brohl noted that businesses may be forced to change their Zero Tolerance policies in order to get the pool of workers they need.

Mr. Rosenberg: There has been no discussion of Zero Tolerance policies in Massachusetts. Businesses can set their own rules. But determining impairment due to marijuana is not like giving a roadside sobriety test for alcohol. There is no roadside test for marijuana.

Sen. Ginny Burdick (OR): I am Co-chair the Joint Committee on Marijuana. In 1998, voters approved medical marijuana. In Oregon, we have growers producing enough for hundreds of patients. They provide 1-2 ounces per month to patients with a prescription card, and then the excess goes to dispensaries. But there was not enough medical need to consume this excess legally. Ms. Brohl stressed the importance of ensuring that the medical marijuana system is regulated. Now Oregon has seed-to-sale controls for medical marijuana. The Oregon legislature had to change the initiative to make it effective. In 2014, voters approved adult recreational use of marijuana. Has Colorado consolidated medical and adult use marijuana policies?

Ms. Brohl: We observed that marijuana was cultivated legally but distributed illegally. So two bills were passed. One caps the amount that patient caregivers may grow at 12 plants per home. If anyone wants to grow more than that, they have to go through the rigorous commercial approval process and can only grow in industrial areas.

The second bill allocates resources to the police for compliance checks. The Legislature had to define the fine line clarifying what is legal and what is not. A case at the State Supreme Court determined that seized plants do not have to be returned to the growers.

Sen. Mary Kay Papen (NM): New Mexico has legalized medical marijuana, and there is a voter push to legalize adult recreational use, but neither the Senate nor House have been willing to sponsor legislation. The voters are trying to get a Constitutional Amendment approved and the local tribes are eager to start growing. What has been Colorado’s experience with issues of tribal sovereignty and State control? We have gaming compacts with the tribes but cannot check their machines due to sovereignty issues.

Mr. Brohl: Whoever designs the marijuana regulatory system will control it. If you design the system in the legislature, then you can change it with legislation. If it is designed through Constitutional Amendment, then you can only change it through the Constitutional process.

Whoever designs the marijuana regulatory system will control it. If you design the system in the legislature, then you can change it with legislation.

Colorado’s MED meets with the tribes and has compacts with them. Just as the State helped regulate gaming, for example, providing help with backgrounds checks, we will help with marijuana issues. However, the tribes have shown no interest in marijuana growing to date, but this may change and it will require a compact. Whatever is agreed in the compact will dictate how much monitoring is allowed.

Sen. Larry Obhof (OH): Nationally, about 5% of the workforce will fail a drug test. In Colorado, the failure rate has risen 11% since legalization. How has legalized marijuana affected workforce development? Is it harder to find qualified workers? Has the high school drop-out rate increased and college attendance decreased in Colorado, as it has in Ohio?

Nationally, about 5% of the workforce will fail a drug test. In Colorado, the failure rate has risen 11% since legalization.

Ms. Brohl: The rates for high school graduation and college attendance in Colorado have not changed, and neither has the rate of youth use of marijuana changed. Colorado’s unemployment rate, at 2.3%, is the lowest in the nation. Our problem is finding enough high-tech workers for that sector.  Meanwhile the marijuana business has created jobs; we have licensed 35,000 workers in the marijuana sector, including electricians, field workers, horticulturalists and construction workers.

Sen. Stan Rosenberg (MA): Massachusetts allocated marijuana revenues to workforce development activities in communities that have marijuana facilities. We have worked to ensure that not only big companies get licenses but also allocate them to low-income communities and communities of color. We spread the licenses out so they are locally owned and operated rather than have big players take over the licenses.

Sen. Bob Peterson (OH): Medical marijuana is legal in Ohio, but for the Federal government, marijuana is still illegal. How are the monies from marijuana sales handled? The money cannot be deposited in a bank due to federal regulations. Is it a cash-only business? How is the marijuana sales tax tabulated and collected?

Ms. Brohl: All sellers are mandated to do electronic filing, and they are subject to 100% tax audits every three years, and their books must be open to investigators at all times. Based on our marijuana tracking system, we know how much they are getting and what their revenues and taxes should be. Taxes are paid by cash, electronic funds transfer (EFT) and money orders and these are collected with dual safe guards, video surveillance, just like gaming. But there’s still concern when large cash remittances come in on tax day, and we provide a lot of security during those times.

Taking Marijuana Money to the Bank

Sen. Eduardo Bhatia (PR): The Federal Prosecutor said he wants to prosecute even those who are involved in medical marijuana. How will this affect Colorado?

Ms. Brohl: Colorado’s marijuana law is legal by the State Constitution and by State statutes. Colorado will regulate marijuana as long as we are allowed to. If you remove the regulated market, only the criminal market remains. There is always a risk that Colorado’s laws could be declared illegal at the Federal level.

Sen. Stan Rosenberg: If necessary, the state Attorneys General will sue the Federal government for interference in the State law.

Sen. Ron Kouchi (HI): Our State issued 8 licenses for medical marijuana facilities. But they were very slow to get up and running and late to open. Now 7 of the 8 are closing.

Sen. Dominick Ruggiero (RI): There is a Joint Resolution before the House and Senate of Rhode Island, and we have legalized medical marijuana, but the implementation has not been handled well by the State. One thing that has not been mandated is where you can use marijuana. Should it be prohibited near schools? Should consumption be limited to on personal property only?

Sen. Stan Rosenberg (MA): Our statute dictates “no public consumption.” The laws restrict where marijuana can be sold and consumed. There are strict penalties for selling it near schools.  However, the fragrance of marijuana is everywhere. It is not clear when or if the police will enforce the law. It’s an open question: Is using marijuana in your front or back yard or on the balcony of your apartment public consumption? In addition, out-of-state visitors can purchase marijuana here, but cannot smoke it in public, so they purchase edibles. They may not be familiar with them and this can cause problems.

Moderator Tom Finneran: It’s been reported that there is a clustering of marijuana facilities on Interstate highways where teens from neighboring States fill up their car trunks. How is law enforcement dealing with these large purchases that seem to be destined for out-of-Colorado sale and consumption?

Ms. Brohl: Under-age compliance checks are frequent and regular and violations carry stiff penalties and criminal sanctions. Business can lose their licenses or have them suspended and be subject to hearings.

We also track demand and can predict the level of demand for Colorado in-state use. We get an Annual Report that indicates how much marijuana was sold by each licensee. Currently, licensed businesses are meeting 75-80% of Colorado demand. However, it became clear that non-licensed growers and sources were selling outside Colorado. This led to the 2 gray market bills that were passed, and now there is a concerted effort and funding to allow law enforcement to check compliance rigorously.

Sen. David Long (IN): Have there been increases in Driving Under the Influence (DUI) since recreational marijuana became legal?

Ms. Brohl: Because there is no roadside test for marijuana, there is a level of presumption that law enforcement can use to say a driver is impaired. But this can be rebutted with evidence or in court. There was some increase in DUIs so Colorado created a Drug Regulation Task Force which is gathering data on the increase. It is important to determine ahead of time what data you want to capture. Also, it takes time for the data to normalize. You have to determine if the increase is because of less stigma, or better reporting, or increased use.

Sen. Martin Looney (CT): Colorado’s marijuana taxes brought in $192 million in new revenue in 2017. How are you using this? Are you providing tax relief? 55-60% of Connecticut voters say they want to legalize marijuana. But there is a debate over whether this is a good tax revenue measure or a bad public health issue.

Ms. Brohl: Marijuana tax revenues are allocated to marijuana-related purposes, as voted by the public. They are used to find new programs such as addressing homelessness. Colorado raised its marijuana sales tax to 15% and lowered other sales taxes from 9% to 0%.

Speaker Biographies

Barbara Brohl

Barbara Brohl leads the varied functions of the Colorado Department of Revenue. She is responsible for Colorado’s Tax Division, the Division of Motor Vehicles, Lottery, and Enforcement for Gaming, Liquor and Tobacco, Racing, and Marijuana. The department has more than 1,500 employees and annually brings in more than $11 billion in fees and taxes for the state.

Brohl also co-chaired the Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force, set up by Executive Order after Colorado voters approved the constitutional amendment that allows for the sale and consumption of marijuana by persons age 21 and older. The amendment also requires regulation of marijuana growth, manufacture and sale. The Task Force was charged with forwarding recommendations to the governor, general assembly and attorney general regarding how to the state should move forward with Amendment 64. In addition, Brohl helped to develop legislation and rules around regulatory and enforcement matters for this industry. Responsible for implementing the first-in-the-world regulatory program for legalization and regulation of marijuana for recreational use, Brohl is seen as an expert in Marijuana Regulation. She has consulted with governments on both national and international levels to present “The Colorado Model”.

Prior to her move to state government, Barb was an attorney practicing telecommunications law with Qwest Communications, representing the company in multi-million dollar commercial transactions as well as addressing all legal and regulatory matters for a 23-state region.

Stan Rosenberg

Senator Stanley C. Rosenberg was elected 93rd President of the Massachusetts Senate by his colleagues in January, 2015.

Throughout his career in public service, he has remained steadfastly committed to Massachusetts values – like supporting working families, protecting our environment, increasing government transparency, and ensuring all students have the opportunity to succeed. To his neighbors in the Pioneer Valley, Stan is seen as an accessible reformer and a pragmatic progressive. Stan was a chief strategist behind a 2000 bill aimed at curtailing racial profiling, and a key leader in the battle on Beacon Hill to preserve the newly-won right of same-sex marriage in 2003.

Stan’s attention seldom strays far from fighting for working families and growing our economy from the bottom up. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways & Means, he passed a long-overdue wage hike for the Commonwealth’s lowest-paid human service workers. His tireless work to increase funding for education from early childhood to college has driven the creation of an innovation economy which keeps Massachusetts competitive. In 1998 he secured passage of the first Massachusetts Earned Income Tax Credit with a state match of 15% of the federal credit. In 2015, he spearheaded the first EITC increase since its inception, helping over 400,000 working families by increasing it to 23% of the federal level. As Majority Leader, he helped secure votes to increase the minimum wage in three steps to $11/ hour, giving low-wage workers a much-needed raise. Months into his tenure as Senate President, he launched an ambitious “WorkFirst” Program to divert the long-term unemployed and underemployed into stable employment and off government assistance.

Stan is a 1977 graduate of UMass Amherst, where he earned a B.A. in Community Development & Arts Management. Shortly after graduating, he began his work in public service as an aide to former State Senator and Congressman John Olver.

JULY 2017 CONFERENCE

Legalizing Marijuana Part One:
The Colorado Experience

 Barbara Brohl

Executive Director
Department of Revenue
State of Colorado

Barbara Brohl, Executive Director, Department of Revenue, State of Colorado, led the State’s efforts to implement Amendments 20 and 64, which legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use. She described the complex process that included representation of all stakeholders and led to the development of the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) in the Department of Revenue. Ms. Brohl provided in-depth detail on how this process evolved and continues to change as new issues arise. She detailed step-by-step best practices to implement these laws.

Ms. Brohl manages the Department of Revenue’s 1,500 employees who oversee the Division of Motor Vehicles, Taxation, Lottery and Enforcement, including Auto Industry Division, Limited Gaming Division, Division of Racing, and Liquor & Tobacco. When the new Marijuana regulations were enacted, Ms. Brohl’s Department was tasked to implement them.

“We were neither proponents nor opponents of legalizing marijuana, we were charged to fulfill the regulations with complete openness and transparency, so all stakeholders were engaged and informed, Ms. Brohl said.

"We were neither proponents nor opponents of legalizing marijuana, we were charged to fulfill the regulations with complete openness and transparency, so all stakeholders were engaged and informed."— Barbara Brohl

Colorado Marijuana History

The intent of the legislation was to move the control of marijuana out of the criminal world into a regulated market. Amendment 20 made medical marijuana legal in 2000. This Caregiver Model allows home cultivation by patients and caregivers of 2 ounces or 6 plants per patient and requires a physician recommendation.

The intent of the legislation was to move the control of marijuana out of the criminal world into a regulated market.

Colorado Marijuana Legalization Enactment

In 2010, House Bill 10-1284 created the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) in the Department of Revenue to regulate cultivators, products manufacturers, and retail centers. This bill mandated financial and criminal background checks and authorized oversight by State and local authorities. It allows local authorities to ban commercial medical marijuana businesses.

Amendment 64, passed in 2012, allows personal growth and use of marijuana by individuals 21 years or older, who may possess, use, display, purchase, transport, and transfer (without remuneration), to individuals 21 years or older one ounce or less of marijuana.

This amendment regulates the growth, manufacture and sale of retail marijuana, and created a system of licensed marijuana establishments, with mandated financial and criminal background checks overseen by state and local authorities.

The law allows local authorities to ban commercial retail marijuana businesses. As of April 14, 2017:

217 local jurisdictions have banned both medical and recreational marijuana

81 local jurisdictions allow both medical and recreational marijuana

14 local jurisdictions allow only medical marijuana

9 local jurisdictions allow only recreational marijuana

Task Force

The Amendment 64 Task Force (2012) was convened by Executive Order and was charged to create and deliver an implementation report to the Governor, the General Assembly, and the Attorney General. The Task Force was comprised of all stakeholders, including State Legislators, representatives from Public Health, Public, Safety, Agriculture, Revenue, the A64 Campaign, the marijuana industry, marijuana consumers, a law professor, a physician, Juvenile Justice, District Attorney, Attorney General, a Public Defender, the Municipal League, representatives of the Counties, the business community, labor and employees. They delivered their Task Force Report in mid-March 2013.

Continued collaboration from the stakeholder workgroups has allowed us to address problems as they arise and develop solutions that work for everyone. There is good compliance with all the provisions because we had collaboratively negotiated rule-making.

Continued collaboration from the stakeholder workgroups has allowed us to address problems as they arise and develop solutions that work for everyone. There is good compliance with all the provisions because we had collaboratively negotiated rule-making.

Implementation Steps

Once the Task Force delivered its report, progress happened in an accelerated 6-month timeframe. A Joint Select Legislative Committee was convened mid-March 2013, and legislation was passed and signed into law in May 2013. Temporary rules were promulgated by July, 2013, and permanent rules were adopted by 9spetember, 2013.  By October 1, just 5 months after the legislation was passed, Ms. Brohl’s department was accepting applications for marijuana licenses and issued the first licenses by January 1, 2014.

Guideposts for the Implementation

The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) objectives are to implement policies designed to protect public health and safety, prevent the distribution of marijuana to minors, thwart the involvement of criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels in the legal marijuana industry, and block the diversion of legalized marijuana to other states.

Regulations to protect public safety include requirements that premises that handle marijuana be licensed, provide video surveillance of the entire premises, install defined alarm system requirements and industrial grade locks, and observe restrictions on hours of operations. Additionally, there are restrictions on purchase amounts and on edibles, in addition, on-site consumption is prohibited. There are regulations protecting minors and enforcement of underage compliance checks.  Child-resistant packaging is required, extensive labeling, advertising restrictions, controls on waste removal, and production limits.

Production Controls

An innovative seed-to-sale tracking mechanism starts with an RFID tag on each plant, which is attached to the plant throughout cultivation, harvesting, product creation and distribution, and even through product recalls.  Production is managed to meet projected demand, allowing the purchase of 1 ounce at a time for personal use and 2 ounces for medicinal use.

An innovative seed-to-sale tracking mechanism starts with an RFID tag on each plant, which is attached to the plant throughout cultivation, harvesting, product creation and distribution, and even through product recalls.

Restrictions on Edibles

Edibles became a source of concern when 2 deaths were attributed to the excess consumption of edible marijuana products (cookies). Edibles often are purchased by less experienced marijuana users and may take up to 4 hours to have an effect. As a result of the deaths, emergency rules were promulgated on July 31, 2014 and permanent rules became effective October 1, 2014, with compliance required by February 2015 to allow for implementation.

A study was conducted to determine a purchase amount equivalency of THC in edible form and to create a label that would provide adequate information so there would be no accidental consumption and no confusion over serving size.

The new rules require child-resistant packaging for edible retail marijuana products, and limit the serving size of an edible retail marijuana product to 10mg of THC and or 100mg in a multiple serving product, with clear scoring for single dose sizes and labeling including explicit serving size, number of servings and total THC.  The State also instituted incentives for the production of single-serving edible retail marijuana products.

In October, 2016, additional rules restricted making the marijuana products attractive to children and prohibited the appearance and words related to “candy” or “candies,” including prohibiting pre-manufactured products (No Gummy Bears).

In addition, each marijuana package and each individual edible product was required to be marked with the Colorado Universal Symbol. Changes enacted in October, 2017 further prohibited production or sale of edible retail marijuana products or edible medical marijuana infused products in the shape of humans, animals or fruit.

Colorado Universal Symbol for Medical Marijuana and Retail Marijuana 

Rulemaking Principles

The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) created a structure of rules that are:

Defensible: that is, rules grounded in law that can be defended at a hearing and that provide licensees reasonable assurance that they are in compliance if the rules are followed.

Operable: Including the ability to integrate rules into current business processes, and the ability of the MED to monitor and enforce them.

Transparent: The rules clearly articulate expectations of Licensees and licensee operations open for inspection/monitoring.

Systematic: The rules leverage technology, and are planned, methodical, repeatable.

MED Structure

Licensing

MED plays a gatekeeping role in the licensing process, ensuring that licensees are of good business and moral character. The MED follows the money in and out to detect any criminal involvement and to ensure proper financial transactions. MED Occupational Licenses or Badges are required for anyone working within Colorado's marijuana industries. Every worker from field hand to retail assistant is licensed, and one-year of residency is required for owners. As of July 1, 2017, 3008 licenses have been granted, half for medicinal use and half for adult use applications.

Every worker from field hand to retail assistant is licensed, and one-year of residency is required for owners. As of July 1, 2017, 3008 licenses have been granted, half for medicinal use and half for adult use applications.

Enforcement

The Field Enforcement activities of MED include initial, routine, and risk-based inspections, as well as criminal and complaint investigations, compliance monitoring and data analytics, and underage compliance. Field Enforcement agents are responsible for issuance of criminal summonses for underage compliance violations and joint law enforcement operations.

Product Testing

The MED is responsible for assuring the correct potency and homogeneity of marijuana products. They also test for residual solvents and microbials of marijuana products, and for pesticides on plants at medical and adult-use cultivations.

Marijuana Taxation

Colorado imposes a 15% excise tax from cultivation to processor, a 15% tax at sale, in addition to the 2.9% regular sales tax. To date, Colorado’s marijuana taxes have brought $440 million in revenue.

Colorado’s
Marijuana Taxes*
Total  Tax               
Collected in           $19.5M
FY13-14
Total Tax                
Collected in           $88.2M
FY14-15
Total Tax                
Collected in           $141.2M
FY15-16
Total Tax
Collected in           $191.9M
FY16-17
(to date)
*$440 million to date

Mandatory electronic filing automates the process of tax collection and surveillance. Tax Compliance Agents enforce collections on retail marijuana businesses with tax delinquencies, and, every 3 years, licensees undergo a 100% business audit. Criminal Tax Special Agents investigate cases of criminal marijuana tax evasion and Tax Examiners provide customer service for marijuana tax businesses and assist them with account and filing issues.

Some of the marijuana revenue has been used for construction of new schools as well as general construction and renovation of existing school facility systems and structures under Colorado’s BEST school construction grant program. The tax revenue funds the MED budget and regulatory oversight activities, as well as youth prevention programs, substance abuse prevention and treatment, and public education campaigns.

MED Ongoing Costs

The 2016-17 MED Budget of $12.22M funds its 108 full-time positions. The 19 tax agents and examiners are funded through resources appropriated by the legislature in the TAX Budget of $1.36M.

Conclusion

Colorado listened to the voice of the voters and, in a very short timeframe, successfully implemented Amendment 64, developed the structures and rules to build an operable program, provided active compliance monitoring and ongoing taxation activities. Today, the Department of Revenue MED provides ongoing regulation and licensing activities, operates 4 offices, allowing walk-in occupational licensing, and 90-day business licensing.

Legalizing Marijuana Part Two:
Massachusetts

 Stan Rosenberg

President of the Senate
State of Massachusetts

Stan Rosenberg, President of the Senate, State of Massachusetts, reported the process that led to legalizing marijuana in his State and described three stages of implementation for Massachusetts’ law.

First, setting up the regulatory agency.

Second, creating the enforcement codes and policies.

Third, creating policies for public safety and health awareness, providing education on the deleterious effects of marijuana on the developing brain, and establishing addiction prevention and treatment services.

History of the Law

Massachusetts voters drove the legalization of marijuana, beginning with decriminalizing the possession of 1 ounce of marijuana or less in 2008, approving medical marijuana in 2012, and launching a ballot measure in 2016 to legalize recreational marijuana use.

Special Committee

Once that ballot measure was initiated by the voters, Mr. Rosenberg, as President of the Senate, set up a Special Committee to gather substantive background information for the Senate to drive the public discussion. Their first investigation was a 4-day visit to Colorado, sponsored by the Milbank Memorial Fund, to get insights on their marijuana legalization process.

Most of the 8 members of the Committee were undecided about legalizing marijuana when they went to Colorado to see their marijuana regulations in action. When they returned, all except one, were opposed. Their report to the Senate was not a decision, but rather a matrix of public policy questions that needed to be addressed. The Special Committee’s recommendation was, “Don’t do it.” When legalizing marijuana was approved by the voters, the Committee advised the State to go slow, noting that only 5 jurisdictions in the US had done so.

Most of the 8 members of the Committee were undecided about legalizing marijuana when they went to Colorado to see their marijuana regulations in action. When they returned, all except one, were opposed.

Public Comment Period

Mr. Rosenberg met weekly with the Governor and the Speaker of the House to plan the implementation and make any reasonable necessary changes to the bill. A Joint Committee was convened and engaged a 6-month public process, including all stakeholders, to consider details of the implementation plan. The negotiations, though sometimes contentious, continued without a break, but were slow in progressing, Mr. Rosenberg reported.

The negotiations brought agreement on three key provisions concerning local control, taxation, and addiction prevention and treatment. Mr. Rosenberg stressed the importance of local control, which allows municipalities to decide if they will allow legal marijuana use and also to regulate where it can be sold.   To date, 38 towns have rejected marijuana legalization and 100 communities are regulating where marijuana may be sold.

The negotiations brought agreement on three key provisions concerning local control, taxation, and addiction prevention and treatment.

Tax Rate

On the ballot initiative, voters had approved a 12% tax rate on marijuana sales with revenues to be shared by the State and local governments. But the tax rate has been subject to debate, with the House proposing a 28% tax increase.

On July 28, 2017, subsequent to Mr. Rosenberg’s presentation, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed bipartisan legislation to update state laws governing the cultivation, sale, and adult use of marijuana. The law sets the special excise tax on adult use marijuana sales at 10.75% to support the costs of regulating the industry and to fund initiatives in public health, public safety, police training, restorative justice and workforce development.

The law sets the special excise tax on adult use marijuana sales at 10.75% to support the costs of regulating the industry and to fund initiatives in public health, public safety, police training, restorative justice and workforce development.

Local Control

There is a local option for cities and towns to add a 3% tax on top of the combined 17% between sales and the marijuana specific excise tax. Medical marijuana remains untaxed. The final law protects the ability of cities and towns to exercise local control to ban or limit the development of marijuana establishments to address municipal concerns.

Implementation

Mr. Rosenberg further described the three stages of implementing marijuana regulation. First, the agency for regulating marijuana growth, production, and sales and licensing sellers had to be established. Setting up the agency cost about $12 million, Mr. Rosenberg said. Secondly, enforcement codes and policies had to be defined to cover inspections, complaints, and monitoring compliance. Finally, public health and safety policies and preparation were required, including training police and creating campaigns to educate youth that the brain is not developed until age 25 and excessive use of marijuana before that affects the brain for life, as well as setting up addiction prevention and treatment programs.

... the three stages of implementing marijuana regulation. First, the agency for regulating marijuana growth, production, and sales and licensing sellers had to be established.

Initially, the Public Health department was charged to implement the law; however, the new law establishes a Cannabis Control Commission and a Cannabis Advisory Board to work with state officials, local officials, law enforcement, and all other stakeholders involved to regulate both the adult use and medical marijuana industries, including setting potency limits for edible marijuana products and packaging requirements that conform to a detailed list of health and safety protections.

Conclusion

Mr. Rosenberg said, “The Massachusetts legislature did not want to legalize adult recreational marijuana use, but we acted as the voters decreed.”

“The Massachusetts legislature did not want to legalize adult recreational marijuana use, but we acted as the voters decreed.”

Sen. Kevin Grantham (CO) and Sen. Susan Wagle (KS) discussed the impacts of Colorado’s legalization of marijuana.

Discussion

Sen. David Long (IN): How do the laws affect employees and employers who have a Zero Tolerance policy.

Ms. Brohl: At first, there was no change in employer/employee relations. It was still legal to have Zero Tolerance policies as long as they were clearly communicated. However, an employee who had a prescription for medical marijuana and was not impaired while using marijuana at work, failed a drug test and was fired. The case went to the State Supreme Court, which ruled that it was legal for businesses to enforce Zero Tolerance policies.  However, Ms. Brohl noted that businesses may be forced to change their Zero Tolerance policies in order to get the pool of workers they need.

Mr. Rosenberg: There has been no discussion of Zero Tolerance policies in Massachusetts. Businesses can set their own rules. But determining impairment due to marijuana is not like giving a roadside sobriety test for alcohol. There is no roadside test for marijuana.

Sen. Ginny Burdick (OR): I am Co-chair the Joint Committee on Marijuana. In 1998, voters approved medical marijuana. In Oregon, we have growers producing enough for hundreds of patients. They provide 1-2 ounces per month to patients with a prescription card, and then the excess goes to dispensaries. But there was not enough medical need to consume this excess legally. Ms. Brohl stressed the importance of ensuring that the medical marijuana system is regulated. Now Oregon has seed-to-sale controls for medical marijuana. The Oregon legislature had to change the initiative to make it effective. In 2014, voters approved adult recreational use of marijuana. Has Colorado consolidated medical and adult use marijuana policies?

Ms. Brohl: We observed that marijuana was cultivated legally but distributed illegally. So two bills were passed. One caps the amount that patient caregivers may grow at 12 plants per home. If anyone wants to grow more than that, they have to go through the rigorous commercial approval process and can only grow in industrial areas.

The second bill allocates resources to the police for compliance checks. The Legislature had to define the fine line clarifying what is legal and what is not. A case at the State Supreme Court determined that seized plants do not have to be returned to the growers.

Sen. Mary Kay Papen (NM): New Mexico has legalized medical marijuana, and there is a voter push to legalize adult recreational use, but neither the Senate nor House have been willing to sponsor legislation. The voters are trying to get a Constitutional Amendment approved and the local tribes are eager to start growing. What has been Colorado’s experience with issues of tribal sovereignty and State control? We have gaming compacts with the tribes but cannot check their machines due to sovereignty issues.

Mr. Brohl: Whoever designs the marijuana regulatory system will control it. If you design the system in the legislature, then you can change it with legislation. If it is designed through Constitutional Amendment, then you can only change it through the Constitutional process.

Whoever designs the marijuana regulatory system will control it. If you design the system in the legislature, then you can change it with legislation.

Colorado’s MED meets with the tribes and has compacts with them. Just as the State helped regulate gaming, for example, providing help with backgrounds checks, we will help with marijuana issues. However, the tribes have shown no interest in marijuana growing to date, but this may change and it will require a compact. Whatever is agreed in the compact will dictate how much monitoring is allowed.

Sen. Larry Obhof (OH): Nationally, about 5% of the workforce will fail a drug test. In Colorado, the failure rate has risen 11% since legalization. How has legalized marijuana affected workforce development? Is it harder to find qualified workers? Has the high school drop-out rate increased and college attendance decreased in Colorado, as it has in Ohio?

Nationally, about 5% of the workforce will fail a drug test. In Colorado, the failure rate has risen 11% since legalization.

Ms. Brohl: The rates for high school graduation and college attendance in Colorado have not changed, and neither has the rate of youth use of marijuana changed. Colorado’s unemployment rate, at 2.3%, is the lowest in the nation. Our problem is finding enough high-tech workers for that sector.  Meanwhile the marijuana business has created jobs; we have licensed 35,000 workers in the marijuana sector, including electricians, field workers, horticulturalists and construction workers.

Sen. Stan Rosenberg (MA): Massachusetts allocated marijuana revenues to workforce development activities in communities that have marijuana facilities. We have worked to ensure that not only big companies get licenses but also allocate them to low-income communities and communities of color. We spread the licenses out so they are locally owned and operated rather than have big players take over the licenses.

Sen. Bob Peterson (OH): Medical marijuana is legal in Ohio, but for the Federal government, marijuana is still illegal. How are the monies from marijuana sales handled? The money cannot be deposited in a bank due to federal regulations. Is it a cash-only business? How is the marijuana sales tax tabulated and collected?

Ms. Brohl: All sellers are mandated to do electronic filing, and they are subject to 100% tax audits every three years, and their books must be open to investigators at all times. Based on our marijuana tracking system, we know how much they are getting and what their revenues and taxes should be. Taxes are paid by cash, electronic funds transfer (EFT) and money orders and these are collected with dual safe guards, video surveillance, just like gaming. But there’s still concern when large cash remittances come in on tax day, and we provide a lot of security during those times.

Taking Marijuana Money to the Bank

Sen. Eduardo Bhatia (PR): The Federal Prosecutor said he wants to prosecute even those who are involved in medical marijuana. How will this affect Colorado?

Ms. Brohl: Colorado’s marijuana law is legal by the State Constitution and by State statutes. Colorado will regulate marijuana as long as we are allowed to. If you remove the regulated market, only the criminal market remains. There is always a risk that Colorado’s laws could be declared illegal at the Federal level.

Sen. Stan Rosenberg: If necessary, the state Attorneys General will sue the Federal government for interference in the State law.

Sen. Ron Kouchi (HI): Our State issued 8 licenses for medical marijuana facilities. But they were very slow to get up and running and late to open. Now 7 of the 8 are closing.

Sen. Dominick Ruggiero (RI): There is a Joint Resolution before the House and Senate of Rhode Island, and we have legalized medical marijuana, but the implementation has not been handled well by the State. One thing that has not been mandated is where you can use marijuana. Should it be prohibited near schools? Should consumption be limited to on personal property only?

Sen. Stan Rosenberg (MA): Our statute dictates “no public consumption.” The laws restrict where marijuana can be sold and consumed. There are strict penalties for selling it near schools.  However, the fragrance of marijuana is everywhere. It is not clear when or if the police will enforce the law. It’s an open question: Is using marijuana in your front or back yard or on the balcony of your apartment public consumption? In addition, out-of-state visitors can purchase marijuana here, but cannot smoke it in public, so they purchase edibles. They may not be familiar with them and this can cause problems.

Moderator Tom Finneran: It’s been reported that there is a clustering of marijuana facilities on Interstate highways where teens from neighboring States fill up their car trunks. How is law enforcement dealing with these large purchases that seem to be destined for out-of-Colorado sale and consumption?

Ms. Brohl: Under-age compliance checks are frequent and regular and violations carry stiff penalties and criminal sanctions. Business can lose their licenses or have them suspended and be subject to hearings.

We also track demand and can predict the level of demand for Colorado in-state use. We get an Annual Report that indicates how much marijuana was sold by each licensee. Currently, licensed businesses are meeting 75-80% of Colorado demand. However, it became clear that non-licensed growers and sources were selling outside Colorado. This led to the 2 gray market bills that were passed, and now there is a concerted effort and funding to allow law enforcement to check compliance rigorously.

Sen. David Long (IN): Have there been increases in Driving Under the Influence (DUI) since recreational marijuana became legal?

Ms. Brohl: Because there is no roadside test for marijuana, there is a level of presumption that law enforcement can use to say a driver is impaired. But this can be rebutted with evidence or in court. There was some increase in DUIs so Colorado created a Drug Regulation Task Force which is gathering data on the increase. It is important to determine ahead of time what data you want to capture. Also, it takes time for the data to normalize. You have to determine if the increase is because of less stigma, or better reporting, or increased use.

Sen. Martin Looney (CT): Colorado’s marijuana taxes brought in $192 million in new revenue in 2017. How are you using this? Are you providing tax relief? 55-60% of Connecticut voters say they want to legalize marijuana. But there is a debate over whether this is a good tax revenue measure or a bad public health issue.

Ms. Brohl: Marijuana tax revenues are allocated to marijuana-related purposes, as voted by the public. They are used to find new programs such as addressing homelessness. Colorado raised its marijuana sales tax to 15% and lowered other sales taxes from 9% to 0%.

Speaker Biographies

Barbara Brohl

Barbara Brohl leads the varied functions of the Colorado Department of Revenue. She is responsible for Colorado’s Tax Division, the Division of Motor Vehicles, Lottery, and Enforcement for Gaming, Liquor and Tobacco, Racing, and Marijuana. The department has more than 1,500 employees and annually brings in more than $11 billion in fees and taxes for the state.

Brohl also co-chaired the Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force, set up by Executive Order after Colorado voters approved the constitutional amendment that allows for the sale and consumption of marijuana by persons age 21 and older. The amendment also requires regulation of marijuana growth, manufacture and sale. The Task Force was charged with forwarding recommendations to the governor, general assembly and attorney general regarding how to the state should move forward with Amendment 64. In addition, Brohl helped to develop legislation and rules around regulatory and enforcement matters for this industry. Responsible for implementing the first-in-the-world regulatory program for legalization and regulation of marijuana for recreational use, Brohl is seen as an expert in Marijuana Regulation. She has consulted with governments on both national and international levels to present “The Colorado Model”.

Prior to her move to state government, Barb was an attorney practicing telecommunications law with Qwest Communications, representing the company in multi-million dollar commercial transactions as well as addressing all legal and regulatory matters for a 23-state region.

Stan Rosenberg

Senator Stanley C. Rosenberg was elected 93rd President of the Massachusetts Senate by his colleagues in January, 2015.

Throughout his career in public service, he has remained steadfastly committed to Massachusetts values – like supporting working families, protecting our environment, increasing government transparency, and ensuring all students have the opportunity to succeed. To his neighbors in the Pioneer Valley, Stan is seen as an accessible reformer and a pragmatic progressive. Stan was a chief strategist behind a 2000 bill aimed at curtailing racial profiling, and a key leader in the battle on Beacon Hill to preserve the newly-won right of same-sex marriage in 2003.

Stan’s attention seldom strays far from fighting for working families and growing our economy from the bottom up. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways & Means, he passed a long-overdue wage hike for the Commonwealth’s lowest-paid human service workers. His tireless work to increase funding for education from early childhood to college has driven the creation of an innovation economy which keeps Massachusetts competitive. In 1998 he secured passage of the first Massachusetts Earned Income Tax Credit with a state match of 15% of the federal credit. In 2015, he spearheaded the first EITC increase since its inception, helping over 400,000 working families by increasing it to 23% of the federal level. As Majority Leader, he helped secure votes to increase the minimum wage in three steps to $11/ hour, giving low-wage workers a much-needed raise. Months into his tenure as Senate President, he launched an ambitious “WorkFirst” Program to divert the long-term unemployed and underemployed into stable employment and off government assistance.

Stan is a 1977 graduate of UMass Amherst, where he earned a B.A. in Community Development & Arts Management. Shortly after graduating, he began his work in public service as an aide to former State Senator and Congressman John Olver.