Rep. Ginal hosts marijuana regulation conversation in Fort Collins

Katie Marshall

Rep. Joann Ginal (Collegian file photo)

State Rep. Joann Ginal hosted a meeting to speak about marijuana in Colorado at Mugs on College Ave. with Choice Organics Saturday morning.

Ginal hosted this meeting to educate people who are interested in the medicinal and recreational uses of marijuana.

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Choice Organics, a local Fort Collins dispensary, presented facts about legal marijuana and spoke about the common misconceptions in the industry.

Choice Organics is accredited with being the first medical marijuana dispensary in the nation as well as the first recreational dispensary in Larimer County.

The main properties in marijuana that are used for medicinal and recreational uses include THC, CBD, CBN and terpenes.

THC contributes the psychoactive quality of marijuana, but it can be used for medicinal purposes in cases of HIV and to help regulate pain, according to Choice Organics.

CBD is much more accepted in society than THC, according to the presentation, as it does not have any psychoactive affects, but does help with seizures.

The cannabis industry is closely regulated by the Colorado Department of Revenue. According to the owners of Choice Organics and representatives the cannabis industry has several regulations regarding employees and the transfer of money.

To work in the cannabis industry each employee must pass a background check.

As well as a background check, anyone who is in debt to the IRS may not be allowed to work for this industry.

This requires each employee in the cannabis industry to pay off all their student loans in order to work at a dispensary, even as a secretary.

Choice Organics aims to help people safely use recreational marijuana.

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They emphasized how difficult it is to buy weed when under 21. They I.D. each person who enters the dispensary twice: once when they first enter the door and again when purchasing the product.

“Don’t do it if you’re underage, it’s illegal,” said Amanda Woods, the compliance officer at Choice Organics. “Know the rules, wait until you’re 21.”

Woods is responsible for the cannabis legalities at Choice Organics. She is responsible for reading over bills and policies to constitute what is allowed and what is not.

Choice Organics said they want to encourage legal consumption as well as safe consumption by college students.

“Take a cab if you dab,” Woods said. “Be good ambassadors for Colorado. We are a petri dish; the world is looking at us and we would like to set the example.”

Since the cannabis industry is still new, banks are hesitant to support the industry.

Often, marijuana businesses are cash-only and banks are hesitant because of it. Banks may also be penalized for working with the cannabis industry.

Since the industry generates so much revenue, banks do not have the physical space to store the proceeds from the cash-only industry. This causes many major banks to avoid becoming involved with dispensaries.

Though this may not seem like a potential problem, Choice Organics representatives said it impacts the employees directly.

Employees like Woods do not receive their payments through direct deposit like most other industries pay.

However, small, local banks are beginning to work with the cannabis industry. The marijuana business has even made its way into CSU.

CSU is currently working with marijuana and animals in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Two studies are currently being conducted to test how cannabinoids interact with animals and if they could be beneficial to animals’ health.

One study is testing marijuana and the impact on dogs who suffer from seizures.

Rep. Ginal said she will continue the marijuana discussion on March 17 from 6 pm. to 8 p.m. More details are yet to be released.

 Collegian reporter Katie Marshall can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @katie_marshall3