Rant: MMJ Oversight Is a Joke

A few years ago, the medical marijuana business arrived in Colorado amid much hand-wringing over how these supposedly shady businesspeople (italics added by MMJ skeptics) might be tempted to skirt the law and cultivate even more backdoor profits from this budding enterprise.

In a sour bit of irony, it turns out some of the most illicit shenanigans might be happening among the very people charged with overseeing these would-be evildoers. This week, the Colorado departments of Revenue and Public Health and Environment released an audit of the state’s MMJ regulatory system, and its findings were beyond troubling.

The report revealed that the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division, which already has been criticized by MMJ patients and businesses for being inefficient and non-responsive, is failing by almost every measure. The audit found evidence of questionable procedures and incomplete systems around licensing, enforcement, and regulatory oversight. It also discovered signs of waste in the form of internal departmental expenditures, including buying $1,000 office chairs and leasing a far bigger fleet of vehicles than was necessary.

It’s enough to make you turn libertarian. If the state and federal government wants to remain on its high and mighty perch under the guise of defending the rest of us from the (mostly trumped-up) ills of so-called reefer madness, it needs to invest the same amount of diligence and sincerity to its task that these legitimate businesspeople (italics added by me) are trying to accomplish. Your government clearly wants to take a parental role in all this. Behaving like responsible adults would be a good start.

Rave: Letting Them Play

It’s widely accepted that keeping kids busy outside of school is one of the best ways to keep them out of trouble. On Wednesday, Mayor Hancock announced a citywide program that will help do just that.

The passage of Measure 2A (AKA, the “de-Brucing” amendment) in last fall’s election has enabled the city to open 26 recreation centers and 29 swimming pools to all Denver children between the ages of 5 and 18. The kids can use their MY Denver card, which the mayor unveiled last summer, to access all these facilities free of charge. (MY Denver also works as a library card, and its reach expanded only after a local girl approached her district’s representative with the idea in 2011.)

Although 2A received mixed reviews, using tax revenue to give the city’s 90,000 school-age kids more recreational options during the day is a great way to keep our young people active and engaged, and it offers a hard-to-find example of government money well spent.

—Image couretesy of Shutterstock.

Follow 5280 articles editor Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.