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Colorado Dept. of Revenue to Begin Serious Enforcement of New Rules on March 1

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Special thanks to our Friends at CTI for keeping us up to date with the situation in Colorado.

The Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division (MMED) of the
Colorado Department of Revenue concluded two days of rulemaking hearings at
the Jefferson County Justice Center on 1/27 and 1/28. The MMED took
testimony on new rules regarding Medical Marijuana Centers (MMCs). The
rulemaking was necessary to implement HB 10-1284, a bill passed by the
state legislature in 2010 that created MMC’s as a way to put 80% of medical
marijuana providers out of business. The MMED has said that “serious
enforcement” of these 96 pages of new rules will begin on March 1. Public
comment will be accepted until Feb. 11.

Only about 60 people attended the hearing on the first day, and less than
half of them testified. A small handful of people testified the next day.
Even though the new rules will affect hundreds of Medical Marijuana Center
(MMC) applicants, less than 10 MMC applicants testified at the hearings.
Because of the lack of interest, the MMED closed the hearings early on both
days.

Most of the people who testified were patients concerned about privacy
issues. The new rules give the MMED the authority to start collecting
patient information through a complicated database and surveillance system
that will monitor patient purchase from “seed to sale” and alert the MMED
when a patient goes over two ounces of cannabis.

CTI Petitions Department of Revenue for Emergency Rules
At the hearing, the Cannabis Therapy Institute made two petitions to the
Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division (MMED) of the Colorado Department of
Revenue (DoR) regarding patient privacy.

Click here to read the emergency rules petitions:
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/legal/rules/dor/
CTI filed two emergency petitions. The first was directed at protecting
patient privacy. The proposed new rule reads as follows:

Proposed Emergency Rule #1
Because the rights of patient privacy is guaranteed by Article XVIII,
Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution, be it hereby declared that the
Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division (MMED) of the Department of
Revenue’s rules regarding the “sales, manufacturing and dispensing of
medical marijuana” (1 CCR 212) be amended by the inclusion of the following
new section:

43.3-xxx Patient Privacy Regulations
(1) The MMED shall not require Medical Marijuana Centers to photograph,
videotape, duplicate or in any other way record any patient identifying
information, including but not limited to their faces, their CDPHE Registry
ID cards or their photo IDs.

(2) The MMED shall not require Medical Marijuana Centers to keep patient
identifying information. MMC’s will be required only to check a patient’s
CDPHE Registry ID card for validity on its face and they shall not be
required to photograph, videotape, duplicate or in any other way record any
patient identifying information.

The second emergency rule dealt with the fact that the rulemaking process
itself was flawed because it did not comply with Colorado’s Open Meetings
Law. Specifically, CTI asserted that the DoR had failed to comply with CRS
24-6-402 (2) (a) which requires that “all meetings of two or more members
of any state public body at which any public business is discussed or at
which any formal action may be taken are declared to be public meetings
open to the public at all times.”

In July 2010, the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division formed the
“Medical Marijuana Workgroup”, a 25 person advisory committee composed of
industry and government members, to give input on the new rules needed to
implement HB 10-1284. The “Workgroup” members became the “stakeholders”
referred to in the proposed rules. They were chosen without any public
input.

The MMED originally planned to hold their “stakeholder” meetings in
private, but after pressure from patient advocates and the press, they
agreed to hold the meetings in public with proper notice. From August to
December 2010, the “stakeholders” had a handful of public meetings. At
their second public meeting, the MMED created several sub-committees of the
workgroup. From September through December 2010, these sub-committees met
repeatedly outside of the public meetings in private to discuss public
business. At each of these private sub-committee meetings, the
“stakeholders” developed medical marijuana policy advice that was
incorporated into the MMED’s new proposed rules. The public was not allowed
to attend these private sub-committee meetings, in violation of CRS
24-6-402 (2) (a).

The MMED has said in the past that the workgroup stakeholders did not
formally give advice on the rules. However, the “stakeholders” were
referred to 12 times in the 99 pages of proposed rules as having had an
effect on the final version of the rules.

To remedy the situation, CTI proposed an emergency rule that would create a
permanent Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee to advise on rulemaking. The
members of the MMAC would have strict term limits and a more open selection
process. The first task of the new Committee would be to hold a public
meeting where they will review the draft rules that are currently under
consideration.

CTI felt it was important to address the lack of transparency in the
rulemaking process and create a permanent advisory committee that at least
had the appearance of representing more than a handful of industry special
interests.

*WHAT YOU CAN DO*

EMAIL PUBLIC COMMENTS
You can send public comments up until Feb. 11, 2011 at 5pm.

Click here to read the rules on the DoR Website:
http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/Rev-Enforcement/RE/1251575119584
Send comments to:
MMEDRulecomments@dor.state.co.us
Please send a copy of your comments to the Cannabis Therapy Institute:
info@cannabistherapyinstitute.com

SAMPLE LETTER
The new Department of Revenue rules related to video surveillance and
tracking of patient purchases violate the patients’ right to
confidentiality guaranteed in the Article XVIII Section 14 of the Colorado
Constitution.

Provided as a Public Service by the:
Cannabis Therapy Institute
P.O. Box 19084
Boulder, CO 80308
Phone: 877-420-4205
Email: info@cannabistherapyinstitute.com
Web: http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com

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