One less thing
There's been a dearth of good news for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (cdphe.state.co.us), which administers the medical marijuana registry. A few months ago, the governor raided its Medical Marijuana Program Cash Fund for help with the state budget. And earlier this fall, the department's rejection of patient applications containing evaluations from restricted physicians enraged MMJ advocacy groups, leading to a partial reversal of the policy.
Recently, though, the CDPHE was able to relax as one thing was solved: The estimated 70,000-plus application backlog is gone.
"It's true — we're caught up with the backlog," says spokesman Mark Salley. "We're now turning around the applications well within the 35-day period that's allowed by Amendment 20."
The boon for patients and state alike comes a month earlier than expected. The combination of some 60 additional volunteers and the outsourcing of some work to the Department of Personnel and Administration helped turn the tide.
"So [with] the combination of some additional temporary staff here, and data entry with a sister state agency — they kept all confidentially intact — we were able to get through the backlog, and we're thankful to have done so," Salley says.
In the meantime, recent estimates by the health department put the total number of medical marijuana patients in the state at 116,000. Roughly 10 percent — 11,600 — are estimated to reside in El Paso County.
The KushCon II cometh, and recent details are fleshing out what the hell that means.
Kush magazine's second iteration of what's billed as the "world's largest cannabis lifestyle convention" — the first drew more than 20,000 people to Denver — is scheduled to feature a pretty decent music lineup: Aaron Lewis from Staind, Denver's Flobots, college-lover Asher Roth, phallus-focused Mickey Avalon, Beastie Boys DJ Mix Master Mike, and low-ridin' funk jammers War.
As for speakers, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, state Department of Revenue senior director of enforcement Matt Cook and UCCS professor Dr. Robert Melamede will present between Dec. 17 and 19.
Tickets are $20 per day, or $50 for all three days at the Colorado Convention Center, and can be purchased at kushcon.com.
The Associated Press says that Colorado regulators are creating a system that calls for potency labeling requirements, as well as a requirement for centers to submit samples to the state for random testing.
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