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Police Want 2-Year Moratorium On New Marijuana Laws

By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4)- Police and prosecutors in Colorado are asking lawmakers for a two year moratorium on new marijuana laws. They say 81 bills have been introduced since recreational pot was legalized and they can't keep up with regulation that seems to change on a daily basis.

The state legislature took up 21 bills dealing with pot policy in this year's session but it was a proposed measure to legalize pot clubs that set off the letter.

"That was the tipping point where I said, 'This is too much, too fast,'" said Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson.

Marijuana Legalization Colorado Pot Generic
(credit: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)

The Colorado Chiefs of Police, Sheriff's Association and District Attorneys' Council fired off a letter to leadership in both parties stating, "Local law enforcement cannot keep up with the quantity and speed of constantly changing marijuana law..."

"Law enforcement, to include the district attorneys offices, are saying, 'Enough is enough and we're at capacity that it's affecting public safety and public health,'" said Jackson.

CBS4's Shaun Boyd interviews Rep. Crisanta Duran (credit: CBS)

"I think some of the concerns that are brought forward in the letter are valid and we need to continue to listen," said Rep. Crisanta Duran, the majority leader in the state House.

But she says a moratorium goes too far, "When we bring forward legislation, it's to address issues we're hearing in our community."

Like edibles in the shape of cartoon characters that were banned by one of the bills passed this session.

RELATED STORIES: Marijuana Legalization Story Archive

Law enforcement also wants more money for training. Jackson said only 30 percent of the state's 15,000 peace officers are trained in the basics of marijuana law.

"Law enforcement is not just simply digging in our heels and saying, 'Repeal, repeal, repeal.' We're just trying to say it's going so fast it's out of control," said Jackson.

Lawmakers did approve $200,000 in this year's session specifically for training and another $1 million for local impacts. The legislature also set up a committee to make recommendations about marijuana law.

Marijuana Pot Plant Generic
(credit: CBS)

Police and prosecutors want that committee to specifically take up home grows, the potency of edibles and doctors who overprescribe. They also asked for a marijuana liaison to help them keep up with all the changes.

Rep. Jonathan Singer, a Democrat representing Longmont, wanted to legalize pot clubs in the session. He said the letter is a knee-jerk reaction to his bill and that when the state doesn't act, we see local initiatives like Denver's proposed pot club measure.

"If you're going to treat pot like alcohol, then treat it like alcohol," said Singer.

He also pointed out that lawmakers take up a lot of liquor bills every session as well.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4's political specialist. She's a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

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