CannaBiz: Despite backlog, application fees down 

Good news, bad news

Good news from the state board of health's meeting last week: Effective Jan. 1, the medical marijuana patient registry fee is dropping from $90 to $35.

On the other hand, word also came from Ron Hyman, director of the registry, that some 3,200 patient applications are on hold.

This came as a surprise to most people, but not to Gina, a Colorado Springs resident who asked to have her last name withheld, due to privacy concerns. "I mailed my renewal Sept 22, and have proof of reciept [sic]," she e-mailed the registry on Oct. 30, copying the Indy. "My friend mailed his the same day, and received his red card dated Oct 17. I have yet to receive my card."

Gina's recommending physician was local doctor Frank J. Wright. And while she still hasn't received her red card, she's definitely not alone, as Wright says roughly 1,600 of the signatures in question originated with his office.

What the issue is, exactly, is unclear. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment spokesman Mark Salley would only confirm that the applications are being re-reviewed due a problem with the recommending signatures. And Wright says it's because he used his physician assistants and nurse practitioners to also perform examinations.

"Now, we've been doing this — when I say 'we,' I mean all the physicians who have been doing this with medical marijuana — have been designating PAs and NPs for years, it's nothing new," he says. "But [the state] made a ruling, but didn't tell any of us. I mean, they were holding these things up for months, and we didn't know about it."

Wright's logic revolves around Rule 400 of the Colorado Medical Practice Act, which states doctors "may delegate to a physician assistant licensed by the Board the authority to perform acts that constitute the practice of medicine." He thinks he'll likely end up in court defending this interpretation. In the meantime, patients' only recourse is to wait out a review; no word on how long.

Keef crumbs

• Coloradans 4 Cannabis Patient Rights president Audrey Hatfield offers this update, via text message, on local leukemia patient Bob Crouse's prosecution for marijuana cultivation and distribution: "Pushed the motions out again to January 27. They are still 'weighing' out the evidence alledgedly [sic] ..."

• Following up on the report that the west side Indispensary (3044 W. Colorado Ave., indispensary.com) was robbed and a clerk assaulted last week, the Colorado Springs Police Department says it's arrested a suspect: 19-year-old James Cody.


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