Thank you for picking up the Independent's first guide to Colorado Springs' medical marijuana resources. In here, you'll find the area's most comprehensive listing of dispensaries and the services they offer. (We did our best to call, e-mail and Facebook-poke every dispensary in town, though some were just too busy living the dream to respond.) You'll also find stories on how to obtain a registry card; the art and science of treatment; a breakdown of local, state and federal law; and much more.
Likely none of this would be needed if it weren't for three events, the first being Colorado voters' passage of Amendment 20 in November 2000. Then there was a 2007 court ruling that overturned a previous caregiver limit of five patients per provider. Finally, an October 2009 memo from the U.S. Department of Justice told local prosecutors they "should not focus federal resources in [their] States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana."
The last measure, in particular, has spurred incredible industry growth — though hardly a free-for-all. In February, Drug Enforcement Agency officers arrested Chris Bartkowicz, a Highlands Ranch resident who had shown off his 200-plus plants and $500,000 business on Denver's 9NEWS. Bartkowicz could face at least five and up to 40 years in federal prison, but announced April 16 that he plans to fight the charges in court. Additionally, two testing laboratories were raided around a similar time; one, Colorado Springs-based Genovations, tipped off the feds by applying to have its lab receive DEA certification.
The legal issues are complicated as hell, but it's easy to see the industry isn't going anywhere. A recent report by website Politics Daily estimates 63,000 medical marijuana users in the state, with applications being turned in at roughly 1,000 per day.
With that in mind, the Indy would like to announce the May 6 debut of a new MMJ-themed column. With a focus on trends, news and a wide variety of issues affecting medical marijuana users and the community at large, "Cannabiz" should be a valuable resource to our readers. Please send any and all related bits of information — not to mention what we missed, what we could have done better, and what we should have covered in this guide — to firstname.lastname@example.org.Click here for an example of an MMJ Application form