Editorial: Marijuana Enforcement Division’s absurd retreat on open records

From The Denver Post:  Lawmakers need to rectify an inexcusable situation at the Marijuana Enforcement Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue. The agency refuses to release basic ownership information for marijuana businesses without exorbitant fees — fees that don’t exist when the public retrieves the same information for other licensed businesses, including liquor stores.

The department apparently would prefer to keep secret any ownership information, with or without fees. And it said as much when first contacted by reporter David Migoya, whose Kafkaesque interactions with the agency (our description, not his) appeared this month in The Denver Post.

But Migoya persisted, and the agency retreated to the position that it would give him what he wanted but only after receiving the prohibitive sum of $10,000.

The public should be able to find out not only who owns the hundreds of marijuana businesses that have sprouted during the past few years but individual owners’ stake in those businesses as well. This is fundamental ownership data, not protected under any normal licensing arrangement.

It’s not enough that the state freely publishes the names and locations of businesses that sell, grow and distribute marijuana products. It’s also not enough that the state, when prodded, will release a list of the nearly 1,200 owners of marijuana businesses.

The two data sets are nearly useless unless they’re connected.

Who owns which businesses? And how much of each entity do those individuals own?

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