Editorial: Colorado pot gets no sun

From The Gazette (Colorado Springs): Pot was supposed to be regulated like alcohol. Amendment 64 would make an underground trade visible, subjecting it to public scrutiny. Instead, Big Marijuana is a state-coddled industry less transparent than poodle salons.

“I don’t know why we have exceptional treatment for this one industry,” said Denver attorney Steve Zansberg, who specializes in public records access First Amendment law.

At issue is a new law enacted by Gov. John Hickenlooper when he signed Senate Bill 15-115 last year. It prevents regulators from disclosing details about marijuana businesses licensed in Colorado. As such, the state will not provide anything more than the name of a marijuana business and its owners.

“Although each license application contains personal details – an owner’s home address, phone numbers, Social Security number and date of birth among them – the law says the state may not release any ‘individualized data’ about a licensee,” explains a Denver Post investigative report. “That would include their answers to application questions about any criminal history or how much of an ownership stake they hold in the licensed business.”

The special protection makes pot dealerships like no other industry. As the Post explained, other state-licensed businesses – “from liquor stores and automobile dealers to acupuncturists and veterinarians” – are subject to visibility.

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