We are truly entering uncharted waters in the cannabis industry. The turbulent tides of compliance are at perpetual odds against a fledgling industry that is just now finding its legging. The legal ramifications of compliance are far-reaching and often exceptionally nebulous, especially from a patron’s point of view. Don’t expect things to get any less convoluted anytime soon. With big dispensary chains like Sweet Leaf making the news for illegal practices, public awareness of dispensary compliance has taken the front seat for a rare change. I recently got a crash course on just how complex staying in line with the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) can be. Healing House a recreational and medicinal marijuana dispensary located in Denver, Colorado filled me in on some of the frequently overlooked nuances of keeping compliant with the MED. A great deal of recent compliance faux pas have been in regards to volume of sales and section R402 of the MED rules. Healing House also brought up some big issues curtailing their business regarding the Real ID Act in accordance with section R404 of the laws. I dug in a little bit deeper to see how these compliance issues have affected dispensaries across the state, and how they might affect you.
Make sure when you make your next cannabis purchase, it’s from a safe and legally compliant dispensary like Healing House in Denver, Colorado. Healing House specializes in high-grade organic, vegan, non-GMO cannabis. Not only is this some of the best cannabis in the country, it’s also a safe location where you can rest assured that you’re purchasing cannabis legally.
I’ll start with touching on R402 and the laws in place to limit the volume of sales to a single individual. This is the regulation that the MED has been cracking down on the hardest and the very section that has occasionally brought non-compliant dispensaries to their knees. Essentially, the original R402 states that in a single transaction no more than an ounce of cannabis products or equivalent concentrates or edibles may be sold to one individual. While that might seem relatively cut-and-dry, for quite a while, there was a bit of a grey zone on the definition of a “single transaction”. From many people’s viewpoints (and understandably why) a single transaction referred to entering your dispensary purchasing a product and leaving; therefore, if you left the dispensary and came back later it could be viewed as making a separate sales transaction. From the viewpoint of the dispensary, this made sense but since any individual is not allowed to be in possession of more than an ounce of marijuana or its equivalency, making multiple one-ounce transactions in a single day would certainly not be purchasing cannabis legally (that is, unless the person purchasing that ounce was some kind of lunatic savant who can smoke an entire ounce in a few hours. Because of this grey space, the MED issued an amendment to rule R402c in May, 2017. It clearly defines that a single individual attempting to purchase more than an ounce in a day in multiple transactions is trying to circumvent the law. As they put it, “Sales that are structured as multiple, stand-alone transactions may be viewed by the [MED] as an attempt to evade quantity limitations on the sale of Retail Marijuana,” and, therefore, it is illegal to sell more than an ounce to the same individual in the same day. Not only does this make sense with the one ounce possession limit but it is also a step in the right direction towards cutting back on potential black-market abusers who purchased multiple ounces to ship to other states. Since this amendment has come out almost a year ago now, it is inexcusable that some dispensaries we’re caught selling multiple ounces to the same individual on the same day. This is basic dispensary compliance 101 and while it may have been a grey zone for some time, the MED has plainly laid out the laws now. You, as a consumer, should know these laws in passing since attempting to circumvent these rules by purchasing multiple ounces from multiple dispensaries can land you in hot water. Just don’t do it (even for medicinal purposes I can’t imagine ever needing more than the legal limit in a single day). To my knowledge, there has never been any legal action taken against a customer shopping at a noncompliant dispensary in Colorado. Still, I can’t hurt to cover your butt and shop at a 100% compliant dispensary like Healing House to make sure you’re purchasing cannabis legally.
Now moving on to our R404 and the Real ID Act. If you haven’t yet heard of the Real ID Act (I hadn’t until a couple months back) it’s a relatively fascinating federal law that is being upheld by the majority of states. Colorado, for example, has upheld the act since 2011. To give you the really quick Cliff Notes, the act is in place to limit fake IDs and fraud by cross-checking records with physical IDs. It includes several intuitive initiatives like date and information on ID matching the date and information on DMV records. One would normally think that the Real ID Act shouldn’t interfere at all with R404 of the marijuana codes which simply states that anyone purchasing cannabis requires a valid ID that proves they are over the age of 21. The issues that Healing House has been seeing comes from errors in printing and recording from the DMV. While staying in compliance with R404a and the Real ID Act, Healing House has now encountered dozens of IDs that do not match information on record. In many cases the people with these IDs don’t even know that the information on record with the DMV slightly differs from that on their physical printed identification card. When these don’t match in the eyes of the Real ID Act in accordance with R404 the cards in question are not valid or legal and can’t be used to purchase cannabis. This has put them in a tough spot on more than one occasion. When you have someone who is clearly of legal age and is otherwise unaware of the discrepancies on their printed IDs it makes for a bad day for the customer and for the dispensary. The worst part of it is, there is no good solution for this either. The only real way to fix the problem is for people with misprinted IDs to go into the Department of Motor Vehicles and determine the incorrect information and have it amended and potentially have their ID reprinted. It seems like quite the hassle just to score yourself a gram of organic weed for the evening. If you happen to hold a passport military ID that can be a quick fix for the ID dilemma, but I know that doesn’t help all of us. If you’re unsure of the accuracy of your ID, passports are a particularly effective and valid alternative form of ID that will have you purchasing cannabis legally.
Turned Away From Purchasing Cannabis Legally? :
What to do if you have been turned away from Healing House or any other dispensary? First, know that it is nothing personal. Compliance is the name of the game in the marijuana industry. It only takes one fraudulent transaction to bring an entire company crumbling down. From the standpoint of a consumer, it is also equally important to make sure you are following the law as well. If you’re in any way uncertain about your ID or think that there might be invalid information on it you should check with the DMV before making any marijuana purchases or bring along an alternative form of ID such as a U.S. military identification card or passport. If you have been turned away from Healing House in the past in regard to inaccurate information on your identification as a way to make amends for the DMV’s shortcomings you can swing back by Healing House with a valid updated form of ID and receive 15% off your purchase. While the marijuana codes and regulations are an undeniable web of potentially contradicting information, the dispensaries that have deciphered the code and are following compliance are the ones that will thrive. As a consumer, it’s in your best interest to purchase from these compliant locations. If you’re concerned at all that your dispensary might not be following the laws feel free to ask them about R404, are R402 and the Real ID Act. Let’s prove all those naysayers they were wrong, and show that legalized recreational marijuana can be compliant, beneficial, and fun.