|Graphic: Cannabis Therapy Institute|
Two law enforcement bills are now working their way through the Colorado Legislature that would, according to Cannabis Therapy Institute, seriously harm medical marijuana patients and their caregivers. According to CTI, both of these bills have seen strong support from legislators, both Democrats and Republicans.
Law enforcement bill #1 (SB 109) would destroy the confidentiality of the Registry by allowing the government to use patient records to determine “suspicious” activity by physicians. It allocates more than $1 million of patient registration fees to prosecute these supposedly “suspicious” physicians.
|Photo: The Colorado Statesman|
|State Sen. Chris Romer|
The bill’s sponsor, Senator Chris Romer (D-Denver), had promised CTI repeatedly that he would use patient registration fees to create 24/7 access for law enforcement to the Registry so that police could confirm whether a patient was legal after business hours and on weekends.
According to CTI, this has been the number one patient concern for years and would prevent many patients from being arrested and taken to jail simply because the Registry offices were closed. Instead, Romer wants to use patient fees to prosecute those patients’ physicians, allowing unprecedented access to the formerly confidential Registry.
Law enforcement bill #2 (HB 1284) is, according to CTI, “a 49-page regulatory monstrosity that seeks to eliminate 95 percent of existing dispensaries.”
HB 1284 passed the Appropriations Committee Friday morning, with numerous amendments.
“Thank you to everyone pushing to kill this bill,” said lobbyist and medical marijuana activist Kimberly Matteo, N.D., M.H. “Our efforts are not over with yet!”
“This monopolistic bill is going to allow only 16 patients per caregiver and you will not be able to combine a grow,” Matteo said. “So, for caregivers who are husband and wife, you will have to rent or buy somewhere else to grow.”
HB 1284 creates a state medical marijuana licensing board run by the Department of Revenue. Dispensaries would have to get a state license, a local license, and a cultivation
Dispensaries would be subject to warrantless searches of their premises. Law enforcement would be able to come in as often as they wanted to count and weigh a dispensary’s cannabis and search through patient records to make sure the dispensary didn’t have “too much.”
Law enforcement would be able to track patients as well, to make sure they weren’t purchasing “too much” medicine.
According to CTI, HB1284 would create a new class of law enforcement official, the “medical marijuana enforcement investigator” that would be in charge of these warrantless searches.
HB1284 would also require caregivers to give up their Fifth Amendment right against
self-incrimination, leaving them open to possible federal criminal charges.
Senator Romer, one of the co-sponsors of HB 1284, discussed the bills at a meeting of the Medical Marijuana Business Alliance on April 15 at Loews Hotel in Denver. His comments were shocking to the audience, CTI said.
Romer described the new regulatory regime: “The Department of Revenue will regulate it with guns,” he said. “Auditors with guns will be in your dispensary every 5 to 7 days” to count and weigh your medicine.
Since you will be seeing so much of your auditor, Sen. Romer said, “Your auditor will
be your best friend. Yes, he will have a gun, but that will be OK.”
Romer repeated the phrase “auditors with guns” dozens of times in his 20-minute speech, almost seeming gleeful at the thought, according to CTI.
Romer also said that the progress on HB 1284 has been stalled because “we’re trying to figure out exactly how many auditors with guns we will need.”
The big bombshell fell, according to CTI, when Romer was asked how much a state dispensary license would cost. He replied that the fee would probably be around $50,000 a year, “maybe more.”
No, that’s not a typo, fifty thousand dollars each year.
“This is the future of medical marijuana: the Law Enforcement Model to Medicine. Readers in other states should be wary as well,” CTI said in a press release. “Law enforcement all over the country will be using Colorado’s regulatory regime as a model for their own state regulations down the road.
Take Action Now
1) Call or email your local House and Senate Members and ask them to VOTE NO on HB1284 and SB109.
House Offices: (303) 866-2904
Senate Offices: (303) 866-2316
Click here for a full list of emails and other contact info.
Copy any emails you send to CTI at [email protected].
Go to the General Assembly Home Page for the most current copies of the
2) Copy and print the PDF version of this Action Alert and carry copies everywhere.