DENVER — Colorado is considering an unusual strategy to protect its nascent marijuana industry from a potential federal crackdown, even at the expense of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax collections.
A bill pending in the Legislature would allow pot growers and retailers to reclassify their recreational pot as medical pot if a change in federal law or enforcement occurs.
It’s the boldest attempt yet by a U.S. marijuana state to avoid federal intervention in its weed market.
The bill would allow Colorado’s 500 or so licensed recreational pot growers to instantly reclassify their weed. A switch would cost the state more than $100 million a year because Colorado taxes medical pot much more lightly than recreational weed — 2.9 percent versus 17.9 percent.
The measure says licensed growers could immediately become medical licensees “based on a business need due to a change in local, state or federal law or enforcement policy.”