Jan 2014

New Marijuana Laws in Colorado and Washington Create Special Title Risks

By admin

We have become aware via Stewart Title Insurance underwriting alerts that with the new laws of Colorado and Washington State which legalized the retail sales of marijuana for recreational purposes, that such will be effecting title underwriting. These laws are effective January 1, 2014, in both states but with final regulations in Washington coming somewhat later. To date, no such legislative acts have been approved in any other of the United States.

In both jurisdictions there are a myriad of unanswered questions and issues, not the least of these issues being the stance of the federal government regarding the enforcement of existing federal laws proscribing the growing, processing, sale and possession of marijuana and its various products. Although federal enforcement officials in Colorado have currently taken the position that violations of federal law will not be prosecuted at the present time if the sales are made in strict compliance with Colorado law, the position is not one that is backed by federal statute and may be changed at any time. The picture in Washington is equally cloudy.

Accordingly, when knowledge of current or intended use of the property that is the subject of an order for Colorado Title Insurance services involves the production, processing, sale, possession and/or use of marijuana, the order should be considered to involve special risk and must be reviewed by one of our  underwriters. This also applies if we, a Colorado Title Company discover that tenants are conducting any such activities while in possession of the property under leasehold or rental agreements. Depending upon the information obtainable and the circumstances present, we may decline to provide the requested services.

If you have any questions relating to this or other bulletins, please contact our Colorado Title Company and we will be happy to answer any questions..

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