|Graphic: THC Finder|
On Friday, July 1, a new set of medical marijuana rules will go into effect in Colorado, greatly increasing the amount of regulation imposed on the industry by the state.
Observers predict the state’s new rules will prompt dramatic changes in the medical marijuana industry, reports John Colson at the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. Colorado voters in 2000 approved an amendment to the state constitution which legalized medicinal cannabis.
Some say the changes are disastrous for patients’ rights and for those who seek to provide safe access to marijuana for patients. They argue that the new rules will force some of the 800 or so medical marijuana dispensaries now operating in the state to close.
Others maintain that the regulations are needed to prevent fraud and other crimes, and to keep the fast-growing industry in check.
“I don’t see this as bad news,” said Dan Sullivan, co-owner of the Green Medicine Wellness medical marijuana center at Grand Avenue at 11th Street in Glenwood Springs. He said that he had spent considerable amounts of money to comply with the new laws.
“I view this as a good thing for the industry,” Sullivan said. “It will certainly create a more structured environment. I think it legitimizes the industry as a whole.”
In general, the new rules “just make us stronger,” Sullivan said. “Will there be some that fall out pretty quickly? I think so. Do I think it’s going to limit patients’ access? No.”
According to Sullivan, there are more than 4,000 people directly employed by Colorado’s medical marijuana industry, and all of them will be checked for criminal backgrounds and other “disqualifying histories.”
All personnel who work as budtenders in dispensaries must wear badges issued by a state agency indicating they have passed the state’s security inspection.
The new regulations, approved earlier this year by the Legislature and taking effect July 1:
• Require increased security to prevent burglaries at dispensaries
• Mandate a “seed-to-sale” tracking system, including mandatory video surveillance of the cultivation process, storage and sales
• Mandates that dispensaries must grow 70 percent of their marijuana onsite
• Enforce an 8 p.m. closing time on all dispensaries
• Impose registration requirements on caregivers, who grow medical marijuana for up to five patients.
Some Colorado caregivers are getting out of the business rather than submit to registration on a database, according to The Associated Press.