The debate and protest was heated today in Denver, Colorado over proposed medical marijuana legislation. I received an ASA e-mail late yesterday for a planned rally on the capitol steps, and I heard there was a good turnout. Patients and dispensary owners alike voiced their concern about infringements on patients’ rights. One of the most controversial provisions of the bill is that dispensary owners grow 75 percent of their product. Many dispensary owners feel that this is unrealistic and will result in less access to medicine. Peter Trujillo, co-owner of Trichome Health Consultants, stated “If businesses like this are generating revenue, taxable income for the city, why wouldn’t they want us around to help out with the economy instead of sending all the money back to the black market.”
According to the bill, dispensaries would be licensed through the Colorado Department of Revenue and patients would have to choose between buying from dispensaries or grow their own marijuana. There would also be a one year ban on new dispensaries until the implementation of the bill is well underway. Cities would be allowed to keep their local ordinances and moratoriums dealing with dispensaries. A very contentious item in the legislation is a ban on medical marijuana possession within 1,000 feet of a school. Patients argue that they need to be able to consume medicine inside their residence, as well as transport medical marijuana to their homes from a dispensary or caretaker’s location.
As with just about anything the government does, this process is going to be a slow one. Some activists are even making allegations that the legislature is purposively dragging their feet to wait out the media attention. Whatever the reason, this is going to be the first of many more rounds before an actual vote is heard. Media reports yesterday out of Denver were talking like there was going to be actual action today, but really it was just more of the same. I will monitor my e-mail from Denver, as well as the news, and continue to report what I hear.