Medical Marijuana Bills Will Harm Patients


source: Cannabis Therapy Institute

Colorado Medical Marijuana Licensing to be Run by "Auditors with Guns"

State Licenses Will Cost $50,000/year

{Denver} -- There are now two law enforcement bills working their way
through the Colorado state legislature that would seriously harm medical
marijuana patients and their caregivers in Colorado. Both of these bills
have seen strong support from legislators, both Democrats and Republicans.

Law enforcement bill #1 (SB109) would destroy the confidentiality of the
Registry by allowing the government to use patient records to determine
"suspicious" activity by physicians. It allocates over $1 million of
patient registration fees to prosecute these "suspicious" physicians.

The bill's sponsor, Senator Chris Romer (D-Denver), promised the Cannabis
Therapy Institute repeatedly that he would use patient registration fees to
create 24/7 access for law enforcement to the Registry so that police could
confirm whether a patient was legal after business hours and on weekends.
This has been the #1 patient concern for years and would prevent many
patients from being arrested and taken to jail simply because the Registry
offices were closed. Instead, Romer wants to use patient fees to prosecute
those patients' physicians, allowing unprecedented access to the formerly
confidential Registry.

Law enforcement bill #2 (HB 1284) is a 49-page regulatory monstrosity that
seeks to eliminate 95% of existing dispensaries. It creates a state medical
marijuana licensing board run by the Department of Revenue. Dispensaries
would have to get a state license, a local license, and a cultivation
license. Dispensaries would be subject to warrantless searches of their
premises. Law enforcement would be able to come in as often as they wanted
to count and weigh a dispensary's cannabis and search through patient
records to make sure the dispensary didn't have "too much.". Law
enforcement would be able to track patients as well, to make sure they
weren't purchasing "too much" medicine. HB1284 would create a new class of
law enforcement official, the "medical marijuana enforcement investigator"
that would be in charge of these warrantless searches. HB1284 would also
require caregivers to give up their 5th Amendment right against
self-incrimination, leaving them open to possible federal criminal charges.

Senator Romer, one of the co-sponsors of HB1284, discussed the bills at a
meeting of the Medical Marijuana Business Alliance on April 15, 2010 at the
Loews Hotel in Denver. His comments were shocking to the audience.

Romer described the new regulatory regime. "The Department of Revenue will
regulate it with guns," he said. "Auditors with guns will be in your
dispensary every 5 to 7 days" to count and weigh your medicine. Since you
will be seeing so much of your auditor, Sen. Romer said, "Your auditor will
be your best friend. Yes, he will have a gun, but that will be OK." Romer
repeated the phrase "auditors with guns" dozens of times in his 20 minute
speech, almost seeming gleeful at the thought. Romer also said that the
progress on HB1284 has been stalled because "we're trying to figure out
exactly how many auditors with guns we will need."

The big bombshell fell when Romer was asked how much a state dispensary
license would cost. He replied that the fee would probably be around
$50,000 a year, maybe more. Yes, that's not a typo, fifty thousand dollars
each year.

This is the future of medical marijuana: the Law Enforcement Model to
Medicine. Readers in other states should be wary as well. Law enforcement
all over the country will be using Colorado's regulatory regime as a model
for their own state's regulations down the road.

TAKE ACTION NOW!

1) Call or email your local House and Senate Members and ask them to:
VOTE NO ON HB1284 and SB109

House Offices: (303) 866-2904
Senate Offices: (303) 866-2316


Click here for a full list of emails and other contact info.
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/advocacy/contact.colorado.state.legislature.html

Send us copies of any emails you send.

Go to the General Assembly Home Page for the most current copies of the
bills:
http://www.leg.state.co.us/

2) Copy and print this PDF version of this Action Alert and bring copies
everywhere. Let's get the phones ringing down there.
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/bills/hb1284.action5.pdf

1 comment:

Nicholas said...

I was at the MMB meeting and, while I disagree with Senator Romer on many issues, it does not do our cause any good when CTI misquotes and sensationalizes aspects of his speech.

Romer did not say that the licenses would cost $50,000. What he said was that it could be between $5,000 and $50,000. He didn't know because that would be something the Department of Revenue would determine once it was decided how many new auditors would have to be hired to do the inspections. He also said that that the fees might be on a sliding scale proportional to the number of patients served by a center.

However, like you, I am disturbed by the frequent references to "auditors with guns". This fits in with his perception of our industry as being the "wild, wild west" when we are really pioneers. If he really wanted to do something about the "wild, wild west" image of Colorado, he'd support gun control.

The overwhelming majority of growers and dispensaries are doing their best to support reasonable regulation and conform to the rules. The bad apples among us need to be taken out of the barrel sooner rather than later in order for us to continue to establish legitimacy for our industry in the public mind.

nick@alpineherbalwellness.com

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