Changes to Colorado Medical Cannabis Law
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 06/06/2010 in Medical Marijuana Laws
The way patients get medical marijuana in Colorado has changed today, with Gov. Bill Ritter signing two bills into law — House Bill 1284 and Senate Bill 109— that make significant changes in the way the state’s medical marijuana industry is regulated.
Senate Bill 109, which will help prevent fraud and abuse according to Gov. Ritter, requires patients to establish a “bona fide” relationship with the doctors who provide marijuana recommendation. Marijuana doctors must complete a full assessment of the patient’s medical history, talk with the patient about the qualifying medical condition, and be available for follow-up care for the patients. This means that it’s more important than ever to get a medical marijuana recommendation from a qualified marijuana doctor.
House Bill 1284 creates strict new regulations for medical marijuana businesses. It requires dispensaries to be licensed at both the state and local levels. It also gives local governments the power to ban dispensaries and marijuana-growing operations. And as we learned last week, Vail has already taken steps to do so, and Greenwood Village and Aurora are looking into banning dispensaries in their communities as well.
House Bill 1284 also prevents those who have lived in Colorado for fewer than 2 years, or those who been convicted of a drug-related felony or any recent felony from operating a dispensary. And now all dispensaries must grow at least 70% of the marijuana they sell, which will likely shut down many growing operations across the state.
Another significant change this law will make is the distinction between dispensaries and “primary caregivers.” Until now, dispensaries were able to operate as the primary caregivers for their patients. But now, in order to qualify as a caregiver, they must register with the state, serve no more than five patients and grow no more than six plants per patient.
While many are viewing these bills as an effective way to prevent fraud and promote the professionalism of the medical cannabis industry, others fear the new laws will shut down many dispensaries and force patients to purchase their medicine from the black market. Only time will tell whether these laws will be effective.