Friday, October 17, 2014

Contentious new marijuana laws proposed by Colorado legislature

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 9:41 AM

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Assuming Democratic state senator Irene Aguilar survives a challenge from Republican Dawne Murray in November, the Denver legislator is set to co-sponsor a bill this upcoming January session with Rep. Jonathan Singer that would mandate that medical-marijuana caregivers register with the state, among other new laws, in an attempt to limit how many plants are grown. The bill comes at the recommendation of a legislative committee.

"The bill requires all primary caregivers to register with the state health agency and the state medical marijuana (licensing authority)," reads the bill summary, viewable below. "Any primary caregiver who is not registered shall register within 10 days of being informed of the duty to register. If a person fails to register after such 10 days, the state health agency and licensing authority shall prohibit the person from ever registering and acting as a primary caregiver.

"The bill requires the licensing authority and the state health agency to share the minimum amount of information necessary to ensure that a medical marijuana patient has only one caregiver and is not using a primary caregiver and a medical marijuana center."

Caregiver registration has always been contentious, with opponents citing its enshrinement in Amendment 20. Talking to the Associated Press, the Southern Colorado Cannabis Council called the bill "a money grab," with director Jason Warf saying, "For them to even write this policy is very irresponsible."

In an emailed statement sent in response to questions from the Independent, Michael Elliott, the executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, says: 

"While we have seen caregivers provide critical help to patients in need, we have also seen black market operators abusing the caregiver program to illegally sell marijuana," Elliott wrote. "The state legislature will have a difficult balancing act with this bill. They will need to address major abuses of the caregiver model, while ensuring that bona fide caregivers are able to provide their patients with their needed medication."

The bill would also mandate the state "adopt rules establishing guidelines for physicians making medical marijuana recommendations for patients who suffer from severe pain," essentially tightening MMJ access in an attempt to drive any recreational users towards the higher taxes in the recreational market. Currently, there are 17,422 registered patients in El Paso County, with 93 percent statewide stating they use marijuana for severe pain.

Sen. Aguilar was reticent to say more, emailing, "After the November elections Representative Singer and I will be available to discuss this issue in more detail."

CONCERNING MARIJUANA ISSUES THAT ARE NOT REGULATED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE. by Bryce Crawford


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