Sen. Romer Withdraws Restrictive Medical Marijuana Bill

source: Cannabis Therapy Institute

{Denver} -- In a blog on Saturday, Senator Chris Romer (D-Denver) announced his attention to drop his bill for an unworkable licensing regime that would have driven 80% of Colorado medical marijuana caregivers out of business. Romer claims that he is giving up on his onerous bill because law enforcement and the medical marijuana community were not willing to find common ground.

Read the entire blog:

The CTI supporters that have been writing and calling Romer and telling him to withdraw his bill have won this battle! Romer saw that he had no political support for his complex monstrosity of a bill, and wisely decided to drop his misguided attempt at "regulation" before the legislative
session even started.

Romer writes that his "attempts to bring medical marijuana out of the shadows through a complex regulatory structure are now over." However, Romer says he will still have a medical marijuana bill that will deal with only a few issues. One issue he has identified is the "need for a meaningful doctor patient relationship" to get a medical marijuana recommendation. Hopefully, Romer will not try again to over-step his authority and interfere in the doctor/patient relationship by requiring a government panel to approve recommendations, as he did in his original bill.

Romer also says his bill will allow the "creation of a 24-hour per day registry for patients." CTI is hoping Romer is referring to CTI's repeated requests for 24/7 access for law enforcement to the Medical Marijuana Registry. Currently, law enforcement can only contact the Registry to verify whether a patient is a current member during regular business hours. If a patient has an encounter with law enforcement after 5pm and on weekends, law enforcement cannot contact the Registry to verify a patient's status. This means a lot of patients are going to jail nnecessarily. This is a huge problem for patients and has been for several years.

Romer did say, however, that a bill supported by law enforcement would be introduced in the House that would prohibit a caregiver from serving more than 5 patients. Romer did not name a sponsor for this bill.

"This is a guarded victory for Colorado patients," says Laura Kriho, spokesperson for the Cannabis Therapy Institute, a patient advocacy group. "Romer's bill was clearly a solution in search of a problem. We're glad that Romer is now going to focus on one of the real problems of patients that are still getting arrested and prosecuted. We would encourage him to do more for patients even still, and sponsor a Patient Bill of Rights that would help protect patients from discrimination in areas of housing, employment, probation, veteran's benefits, insurance and other areas."

"On behalf of patients and caregivers, we're happy that Sen. Romer has opted to withdraw his 39 pages of crushing regulations that would have harmed patients," says Rob Corry, Denver attorney and president of the Colorado Wellness Association, a medical cannabis industry trade group. "We are guardedly optimistic that the issues will continue to move in the right direction."

"I'm glad that Senator Romer now sees that excessive government regulations are not needed," says Timothy Tipton of the Rocky Mountain Caregivers Cooperative. "Destroying a fledgling industry before it has even had a chance to take root with excessive government regulation is a recipe for disaster. We need to have time for the dispensing business models to develop, and time for the patients to discover the number and variety of cannabis medicines available to them. Ultimately, the patients will regulate this market, just as consumers regulate any market."


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