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Published on Friday, February 13, 2015

House proposes omnibus marijuana act

Last week the House introduced an omnibus marijuana act, HB 1461, which consisted of 18 different House bills. A scaled down proposed substitute to the omnibus bill is now up for consideration. Among its many provisions, the following are of most significance to cities.

State preemption of local governments

  • Under HB 1461 the State fully occupies and preempts the entire field of the regulation of the production, processing, and retail sale of recreational marijuana. The governing body of a city, town, or county is barred from adopting any ordinance that prohibits or precludes the siting of such businesses. However, cities, towns, and counties retain the following powers:
    • Zoning authority regarding the siting of licensed marijuana businesses;
    • The authority to adopt or retain a generally applicable prohibition of commercial plant growing, plant and food-product processing, and retail uses; and
    • The authority to adopt and enforce other ordinances generally applying to other businesses, such as licensing or permitting.
  • Any city, town, or county can prohibit the production, processing, and retail sale of marijuana by public vote.

Revised buffer distances between marijuana businesses and facilities

  • Amends the 1,000 foot minimum distance requirement between a licensed marijuana business and a recreation center, child care center, public park, public transit center, library, or game arcade that is open to those under 21 years of age to 100 feet. The 1,000-foot minimum distance requirement with regard to schools and playgrounds remains unchanged. An additional proposed amendment to this section would allow for local flexibility to reduce the buffer from 1,000 feet to as low as 100 feet from all uses except schools and playgrounds.


  • The 25 % excise tax imposed upon producers and processors is eliminated. Retail sales are subject to an excise tax of 30 % of the selling price on each sale of marijuana and marijuana products.
  • The tax must be paid by the buyer to the retailer, and the retailer holds such tax proceeds in trust until such time as the retailer remits the proceeds to the LCB.

Medical marijuana provisions

  • Requires the Liquor Control Board (LCB) to adopt rules for the licensing and regulation of the production, processing, and retail sale of medical marijuana by September 30, 2015.
  • Only those properly licensed by the LCB may engage in commercial activity involving the sale, delivery, or transfer of medical marijuana or products.

Public consumption

  • Prohibits public consumption of marijuana or marijuana products. "Public place" has the same definition as in liquor control statutes, except that consumption in state parks and on brewery and winery grounds is not permitted. A violation is a class 3 civil infraction, punishable by a fine of $50, plus applicable local fines.

Eradication of illegal marijuana production

  • Using funds allocated to it by I-502, the LCB must contract with one or more state or local law enforcement agencies to support the locating and eradication of illegal marijuana production. The contract must prioritize illegal production on public lands and require notification of federal agencies.

The proposed amendment was up for executive action on Thursday, February 12, but the committee did not take action at that time. We are monitoring this bill closely as some of these provisions are of concern to cities.

Categories: Marijuana