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Audit Questions Regulatory Oversight of Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Industry

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A Colorado state audit released this week finds problems in oversight of the state’s medical marijuana industry, according to The Wall Street Journal. The audit comes soon after a task force issued recommendations on regulating recreational marijuana.

The state legislature has until May to finalize laws regulating sales of recreational marijuana, which was approved by voters in November. The regulations are scheduled to go into effect in 2014, the article notes.

The state audit concluded the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division has not generated enough revenue from fees in order to hire adequate staff to closely track sales. The division oversees the state’s 1,400 medical marijuana-related businesses.

“The division has not adequately defined the oversight activities it must perform or determined the resources it needs to implement the regulatory system envisioned by the General Assembly to oversee Colorado’s emerging medical marijuana industry,” the audit concludes.

Revenue shortfalls led the agency to lay off a majority of its staff last year, the audit stated.

The audit recommends the division improve the timeliness of its licensing processes; enhance its monitoring activities, as well as its processes for seizing and disposing of unauthorized marijuana from medical marijuana businesses; only license eligible medical marijuana business applicants; improve controls over expenses; and develop a comprehensive strategic plan.

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