New marijuana products, advertising heavily regulated
So much for treating marijuana like alcohol.
In 2012, when the question of legalizing recreational marijuana was in front of voters, a selling point was regulating and treating the drug like liquor.
But the differences in rules and regulations outnumber the similarities.
“It’s regulated more robustly than alcohol. It has a more robust regulation than alcohol, so the campaign ads weren’t accurate because it’s not regulated like alcohol,” Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace said.
“I think it’s important as we start off in this new chapter that we have very robust and strong regulations. We need to kick the bad actors out. We need to enforce the laws and we need to make sure that businesses in Pueblo are on the up-and-up.”
One contrast in regulation is advertising.
Under Pueblo County rules, pot shops are prohibited from using neon signs, billboards, A-frames, sandwich boards, sidewalk and curb signs.
Vehicular advertisements are banned as are animated, electronic and flashing signs.
And, by county code, all signs must be kept in good repair.
Inflatable displays, balloons and flags are outlawed as are advertisements promoting potency, strains of anything that “implies the effects of the consumption of marijuana.”
Also banned are signs dealing with pricing, half-off sales and the like.
However, county code points out that the aforementioned does not apply to newspapers, magazines and periodicals or advertising that is “purely incidental” for charity events hosted by pot businesses.
And every retail shop in Pueblo must display on its exterior a “64,” for the amendment that legalized marijuana, or a green cross.
Businesses are allowed to sell to people 21 and older between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. County code also requires all sales receipts to contain the message: “It is illegal to transfer or sell marijuana or marijuana products to anyone under the age of 21.”
A sign must be posted at the business that states the same, along with reminders that sending or transporting marijuana to other states is illegal and that marijuana possession remains a federal crime.
Pueblo County offers three medical licenses and five retail licenses, including warehouse storage.
There are eight possible licensing fees, ranging from $1,500 to $6,000 and the renewal fee scale is set similarly. There are fees associated with size of grow operations — 50 cents per square foot for indoor cultivation and 25 cents for outdoor.
If a shop changes location or ownership that comes with a $250 fee. There’s a $50 fee for shop modifications.
Recreational, by way of the voters, also is taxed higher — a 15 percent excise tax, 10 percent state tax and 31/2 percent county tax. Pueblo County is one of 11 Colorado counties that chose regulating the industry over banning and moratorium.