As Colorado House Bill 1284 moves closer to the Governors desk, a group of medical marijuana lawyers plan to file an injunction challenging certain aspects of the new bill. The injunction hopes to bring the concerns of patients, who may be disenfranchised as a result of caregiver limits and the ability of communities to ban dispensaries; and dispensary owners, at least half of whom could be out of business as a result of the new bill, to the attention of lawmakers.
The lawyers are concerned about 5 particular provisions of the bill: (1) setting a limit of 5 patients on caregivers operating outside the state-sanctioned “center” model, (2) imposing licensing fees on dispensaries reorganizing under the state-guided “wellness center” model, (3) ensuring that only residents of Colorado for at least two years can own dispensaries or wellness centers, (4) not granting licenses to anyone accused or convicted of felony crimes, and (5) giving cities and towns the authority to ban dispensaries.
“The ultimate goal here is to ensure that suffering patients have access to their medicine,” said attorney Rob Corry, who is leading the push against HB 1284. “And there’s nothing wrong with making money off of your Constitutional rights.”
Chris Romer, the bill’s sponsor disagrees saying, “The constitution does protect the patients’ right to have access to medical marijuana. The constitution does not protect the business model or the approach or that people with felonies have the right to be running dispensaries. Rob’s just out to lunch on that.”
Romer concedes that the bill pushes the balance of power in the favor of law enforcement over the dispensary owners. “Maybe if it becomes legal, we can soften up the regulations,” Romer said. “But this is still a controlled substance. It’s illegal to cross state lines with it. I’m not interested in the out-of-staters who want to rush to Colorado to make money off of medical marijuana.”
Image from Colorado Marijuana Coalition