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May, or may not

Dan May has never partaken of marijuana, if that's what you're wondering.

"I've certainly seen friends who have gone on to harsher drugs," the Fourth Judicial District Attorney says, "and I've seen over a lifetime how bad it's destroyed their lives."

The question, obvious though the answer may be, gets asked because anyone following medical marijuana's emergence in Colorado Springs can't help but note the DA's disdain. He tried unsuccessfully Tuesday to convince City Council not to approve an ordinance licensing dispensaries (see story here).

"What our concern is, is dispensaries — in my opinion — do not have anything to do with medical marijuana," May says. "There are 14 states that have medical marijuana, for them, defined as a single caretaker to a single patient — which our law was patterned after — and I think that's what the voters wanted."

May cites research out of the Netherlands, Alaska and California in describing his concerns: that as dispensaries make marijuana more available, juvenile use increases at a rate concurrent to high school dropout rates; an Associated Press story that says increased crime follows the presence of MMJ centers; and testimony by teenagers to the Colorado Legislature saying one teen will get an MMJ card, then purchase marijuana for friends.

At one point in our friendly 45-minute conversation, May pulls out a children's book found in a center titled It's Just A Plant: A Children's Story of Marijuana.

"And I can ask you the question, obviously rhetorically: If you've got this for sale at a dispensary, who are you recruiting? To me, this is clearly recruiting children to marijuana."

Besides clarifying his office's views, we sought more information on the seven grows searched two weeks ago. Unfortunately, as soon as the question arose, spokeswoman Kathleen Walsh jumped in:

"[The police] are still reviewing those cases — it's still an ongoing investigation. Our office had nothing to do [with the searches]. It was a police department operation."

May says his office — which handles roughly 35,000 cases per year — has no time devoted to ensuring centers' compliance with local regulations, other than what the police department turns over to him.

Don Quixgrowte

If you've grown marijuana, you've likely run into the work of Jorge Cervantes. According to amazon.com, over 500,000 copies of his books have hit print; he also spent 10 years as a cultivation columnist for High Times.

So what's life been like as the pre-eminent growth guru?

"It's been interesting, and, um, spooky," Cervantes says.

Referring to the U.S.' stringent anti-marijuana laws, the 56-year-old says he's been living in Spain, enjoying a country where it's legal to grow for personal consumption.

"So it's been years ahead of America in that way, and now America is just starting to catch up," he says. "I'm really excited about it here now. It's rock 'em, sock 'em times."

Cervantes is Stateside to promote his year-old Marijuana Grow Basics how-to guide. He visited Colorado Springs last Sunday and had this to say in regard to House Bill 1284: "Colorado is nuts. I was just reading the newspaper, and it's crazy there. The bill is just the beginning — then they've got to sort it out [legally]."

However the situation here shakes out, Cervantes — who's a cardholder due to back pain — says he's just excited about the future of medical marijuana.

"It was a different feeling, personally, to be able to walk into a public place and purchase cannabis as medicine," he says. "I had a big emotional feeling, because I work around it all the time, but to actually do it myself ... I just had a hard time believing it."

Delayed

Manitou Springs City Councilors were set to review a proposed ordinance regulating medical marijuana centers, except ...

"Unfortunately, state legislation that was approved just days before our meeting changed the requirements, so we sent it back to the City Attorney to review and update, given the new legal requirements," says Councilor Aimee Cox.

The city plans to look at the new draft at its regular June 1 meeting.

"Whether or not we'll take action at that time, because the information is so new, I'm not certain," Cox says.

Bud shake

News on a veritable blooming of medical marijuana centers:

• Located near Peterson Air Force Base, Cannabicare (1466 Woolsey Heights, cannabicare.com) just started offering six strains, as well as smoking accessories and edibles. Says employee Julie (last name withheld): "We're geared toward patients in need, and not recreational users."

• Discounts abound at month-old Heavenly Medical Caregivers (5323 Montebello Lane, heavenlymedical.com): Through June 1, patients who designate HMC as caregiver will receive a free quarter-ounce of medication, 20 percent off all purchases, two free joints per week, one free edible and a free pipe. First-time visitors receive a free joint any time. Otherwise, look for 30-plus strains, edibles, clones, hash and tinctures

H.E.M.P. — Higher Elevation Medical Products (700 Juanita St., hempcos.com) — opened behind Fargo's Pizza Co. last week. Look for 10 to 20 strains, clones, edibles, hash, pipes and vaporizers. Its website says H.E.M.P. "was formed as a joint venture between two brothers who saw an opportunity to enhance awareness, and provide an alternative medicine for chronic sufferers."

— Bryce Crawford and Lea Shores

  • Interviews with Dan May, Jorge Cervantes and more.

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