And we're back! Welcome to the third edition of ReLeaf, our guide to all things green and medicated in the Colorado Springs area. We're here to tell you more about medical marijuana economic bubbles, organic growing myths, mayoral candidates' views on MMJ, and the trials and tribulations of surviving the deadline requirements imposed by House Bill 1284.
Needless to say, it's still a turbulent industry, with new developments virtually every week. So ... mind joining me in a recap of what's happened since our last issue?
July 2: Colorado Springs releases the final number of industry types who applied to the city, and paid a $500 fee by July 1. Turns out applications were received for 176 centers, 204 optional grow licenses and 71 infused-product facilities, raising $225,500 in fees.
July 9: Denver's 9NEWS reports that it has "uncovered evidence that hundreds of people are buying medical marijuana with forged or fraudulent paperwork, and the state of Colorado can do little to stop the fraud."
July 20: Colorado's chief medical officer, Ned Calonge, tells the Denver Post that he thinks the majority of folks getting medical marijuana cards don't need them, and says he has "a problem with substandard care and medical fraud."
July 23: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announces it will allow soldiers treated at its facilities to use medical marijuana in states where it's currently legal. Michael Krawitz, executive director of Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access, tells the Indy that the VA's statement is "such a big deal. ... It's the first of its kind."
July 27: The Pueblo Chieftain reports that Pueblo City Council has approved an ordinance that technically allows medical marijuana centers to open, but the wording and restrictions make it virtually impossible for any to do so.
Aug. 1: 9NEWS obtains numbers that the Drug Enforcement Agency has been compiling, showing that half of MMJ center owners have arrest records.
Aug. 10: Westminster center Herbal Remedies becomes the first to challenge the "local option" given by HB 1284, suing the city for shutting it down. (The suit is ongoing.)
Aug. 18: City Councilors Tom Gallagher and Sean Paige debate District Attorney Dan May and Rep. Mark Waller at the Penrose Library. Gallagher challenges May's assertions that MMJ leads to more crime, saying, "Show me the facts — my police can't find it."
Aug. 26: El Paso County Commissioners vote 4-1 to refer a ban question to the November ballot. Commissioner Jim Bensberg is the lone dissenter.
Sept. 15: The Colorado Board of Health rejects a petition to add Tourette's syndrome to the list of conditions the state considers treatable with medical marijuana.
Sept. 22: The Colorado Board of Health rejects a petition to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the same list.
Sept. 24: Department of Revenue director of enforcement Matt Cook tells the Indy that some 100 of the 900 MMJ centers who submitted 70-percent-grow certifications are non-compliant.