Editorial: Even a growth industry must have borders

A Colorado Community Media Editorial

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The work of both a task force and a committee is done, and now the business of drawing up rules to implement Amendment 64 is in the hands of the Colorado General Assembly. With less than a month left in the 2013 session, the Legislature will need to hustle on the matter of recreational marijuana.

As lawmakers debate the merits of the recommendations they’ve been handed, one issue that will come up is how to deal with pot tourism. Already, a company promising cannabis-related vacations has sprouted in Denver, with April 20 — also known endearingly by many marijuana-smokers as “4/20” — being its first big push.

It seems unlikely the Legislature would altogether ban out-of-state folks from purchasing pot. Doing so would be against the advice of the Amendment 64 Task Force and would cost the state a potentially large source of revenue. But there could be limits imposed, perhaps below the threshold of those facing residents, on how much marijuana visitors could legally procure. And, certainly, the law would require them to smoke or otherwise partake here in the Centennial State.

Amid myriad gray areas, at least one thing is black and white: What’s smoked in Colorado must stay in Colorado.

We’re not endorsing use of marijuana in any way, but if you choose to use, remember that you are breaking the law if you take it outside state lines.

Kansas, for one, has been a nervous neighbor since Amendment 64’s passage in November. Last month, Kansas’ appeals court ruled it is illegal to possess pot even if it was legally purchased in another state. (For that matter, possession is still in violation of federal law, but that’s a larger matter for another day.)

Earlier this month, a Colorado woman was arrested in Salina, Kan., on charges of marijuana possession. She had nearly 4 pounds of pot, police say.

While that amount would have been against the law even in Colorado — where residents may legally possess up to 1 ounce for recreational purposes or up to 2 ounces for medicinal reasons — it does shine a light on a problem. A commander with a Kansas drug task force told reporters Colorado pot is increasingly becoming a concern in his state.

Like it or not, Colorado may be well on its way to becoming known as a destination spot for pot enthusiasts. But developing a reputation among neighboring states as a source of contraband is unacceptable.

Our state’s legislators, law enforcement agencies and residents should work to nip this problem in the bud.