|If you just received your doctor's authorization in Colorado, you now have to wait 35 days to buy any marijuana from a dispensary.|
Matt Cook, the Department of Revenue enforcement official who oversees Colorado's new medical marijuana regulations, claims the position paper, written Monday, solves the riddle of how to handle sales at a dispensary to patients without a medical marijuana card, reports John Ingold at The Denver Post.
Colorado is months behind in issuing medical marijuana cards to patients. According to state law, applications not processed within 35 days will be considered approved until the state can get to them. But dispensary owners were unsure whether that mean they had to wait 35 days to sell to those patients, or whether proof of application alone was enough to legally get patients in the door.
Patients have legal protection to possess marijuana from the time they receive the required doctor's authorization, but dispensary sales are different, Cook said.
"Constitutionally, patients have protection from Day One, but there's nothing that provides any protection to the center," Cook said.
"This is not about compassion, this is about control," said patient advocate Timothy Tipton. "Caregivers have taken care of patients and patients have taken care of patients for over 10 years now in Colorado with no problems. This new policy of restricting medicine to patients until they have been sick for over a month creates unnecessary pain and suffering for thousands of Colorado patients."
Denver medical marijuana attorney Lauren C. Davis said the memo "demonstrates how wrong certain portions of the legislative policy underlying HB1284 are."
"This rule effectively denies patients' access to medicine, even after they have jumped through all of the hoops the State has put in their way," Davis said. "Amendment 20 does not even require patients to apply for a registry card. HB 1284 not only illegally imposes that requirement on patients, it requires patients to wait even longer to get medicine once they have applied. This is another clear example that the legislature and the Department of Revenue do not care about patient's rights or their safe access to medicine. We must challenge the provisions of 1284 that hurt patients and caregiver rights."
The decision affects new patients the most, because renewing patients would be able to send in their renewals earlier.
The new rule disregards the needs of new patients, according to medical marijuana activists.
"This is extremely unfair to patients," said Danyel Joffe, a medical marijuana attorney.
"Other medical patients do not have to wait 35 days before they can buy their medication," Joffe said.