Good plant, bad count
The state Department of Revenue's Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division is definitely going through with those inspections we wrote about in our recent ReLeaf, and S.S.I. Care Center owner Ryan Orness knows all about it. MMED officials, not to mention two members of the Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence law-enforcement division, told Orness that the paperwork he offered for 45 patients wasn't even close to justifying the 1,000-plus plants he had.
"What it was is, our hard copies didn't match what was on the computer," Orness says. "Honestly, the girl that handled that wasn't here, so I was kind of clueless about it. So I just printed a copy off of the computer, which is not what she used for our report each month — what she sends to the MMED. So basically, I just gave them the wrong report.
"So we just basically went through and recounted all our patients and made sure everyone was active and hadn't changed caregivers, and then updated our computer, and we came out fine."
It turns out S.S.I. has roughly 200 patients, meaning it can possess around 1,200 plants. This info was faxed within 48 hours to Metro VNI, which has something of a process of its own.
"They were the ones who did good cop, bad cop," says Orness. "The Metro Vice was like, 'These are felony numbers.' He wasn't a jerk about it, at all [though]. He said, 'Just so you know, these are felony numbers, and we need to get this fixed now.'"
We contacted VNI to confirm all was well with the center, but did not hear back by press time.
Sharing is scaring
Though it originally started as a shoot-the-shit session between a Westword reporter and Denver attorney Warren Edson, a talk about patients sharing their medical cannabis (bit.ly/ACxZXS) revealed an interesting point I'd never considered.
"I don't know exactly where patients get this idea that I can take something that's mine that I bought from a center and give it to another patient, i.e., distribute," says Edson in a follow-up call with the Independent.
"I don't think the average Joe and Jane think it's OK that if you and I have prescriptions for Percocet, that I can just whip out my 80 milligrams and give them to you, even though your prescription's for 60 or 40, and act like that's a legal thing," continues the MMJ-focused attorney. "But that's essentially what [some] patients are doing when they're exchanging medicine without a caregiver relationship."
On the upside, Edson says it's not something any prosecuting attorney would likely want to make a case out of.
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