House Bill 1220 passed through committee easily, with bipartisan support. It will now move to a vote in the state senate, and must be signed by the governor before it can become law.
“The current limit of 99 plants is a massive loophole in our state law that attracts criminal elements from across our nation in search of a quick buck…. Colorado voters did not envision massive, commercial-grade home-grow operations in residential areas and those who maintain that this is in some way permitted by the State Constitution are flat out wrong,” Police Chief John Jackson of Greenwood Village told the Denver Post.
Lawmakers contend that limits are necessary due to relaxed laws that attract black-market growers seeking to export cannabis to states where it is not legal.
"Colorado home-grow laws position Colorado as an attractive market for criminal operations," Representative Cole Wist said of the laws.
Those in favor of the bill have argued that they are not attempting to crack down on medical marijuana patients.
"We're not here to deprive anyone of medicine… our concern is the effect that it has on neighborhoods," Fort Collins Police Detective Jim Lenderts told the Associated Press.
A bill allocating more money to law enforcement to crack down on the black-market marijuana trade is also up for consideration in the state.
"In the midst of uncertainty at the federal level… we think it's imperative" that Colorado show it can regulate pot, Mark Bolton, the governor's marijuana adviser, told the AP.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has signaled a crackdown on enforcing federal drug laws, despite voters in many states opting for its legalization. During Trump’s campaign, however, he repeatedly stated that it would be an issue best left up to individual states. Speaking at his confirmation hearings, Sessions also stated that federal enforcement of marijuana laws would not be a priority of the Trump administration, although he has since been an outspoken skeptic of legalization.
“I’m dubious about marijuana. I’m not sure we’re going to be a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana sold at every corner grocery store,” Sessions said in a meeting with state attorney generals last month.