The Denver City Council has dealt a crushing blow to private medical marijuana caregivers, passing regulation to make such operations all but obsolete within the Mile High City.
In a 12-1 vote Monday night, the council approved a measure to limit city households to just 12 plants total, and only two patients per home, who must also live in the household, reports Tim Martin at John Doe Radio.
Only Councilman Doug Linkhart dissented, reports Christopher N. Osher at The Denver Post.
Linkhart said he objected to the new rule because it allows only patients, not caregivers, to grow medical marijuana. The restrictions will end up funneling more patients to commercial dispensaries and harm those who can’t afford dispensary prices, according to Linkhart.
|Photo: John Doe Radio
|Tim Martin: “Despite a new state law and regulation under HB 1284 allowing for up to 30 plants with a five-patient limit per caregiver, Denver City council members saw fit to tighten those regulations more”
”Despite a new state law and regulation under HB 1284 allowing for up to 30 plants with a five-patient limit per private caregiver, Denver City Council members saw fit to tighten those regulations more within Denver,” Martin said.
The law effectively eliminates private caregivers from growing cannabis for anyone but themselves and another person in the household, according to Martin.
“Each of the possible two patients per home are allowed six plants apiece and cannot caregive for anyone outside the home,” Martin said.
Violators of the new rule would face tough fines and possible prosecution if home inspections showed a lack of compliance, according to Martin.
Violators of the new restriction face a $150 fine on the first offense, a $500 fine for the second offense and a $999 fine for the third offense, the Post reports.
“It’s not clear how the law will be enforced,” Martin said.
Patients complained in and out of the city council hearing that not everyone can successfully grow cannabis, and the rules would limit access to those who need the more personalized services a private caregiver could offer.
“Your vote directly affects the sick and dying,” Jacob Browne, general manager of a dispensary, told the council. “These are our patients, our friends and our neighbors.”
New patients, according to HB 1284 regulations, are not allowed to visit dispensaries within 35 days of obtaining a signed doctor’s authorization to use medical marijuana. The rule stems from wording in Colorado Amendment 20 that allows the State Health Department to reject applications within 35 days.
Private caregivers would be the ones to fill the 35-day period of time during which patients would not be allowed to buy at dispensaries, according to Martin.
At the urging of Councilman Charlie Brown, the Council agreed to revisit the regulation in two years to see if the rules are working.