Medical-marijuana businesses should police themselves, says advocate Rob Corry

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Rob Corry thinks a trade association would do a better job of keeping dispensaries in line that the government.
Attorney Rob Corry has been on a roll of late, having won over Judge Larry Naves in a recent Denver District Court proceeding that voided a Board of Health ruling about the definition of a medical-marijuana caregiver -- a response to a Colorado Court of Appeals decision in the case of Stacey Clendenin that threw the blooming medical-marijuana industry into a tizzy.

Now, Corry's hoping to build on that momentum through the formation of the Colorado Wellness Association, a trade group that he hopes will become "a self-regulatory entity. Because we can police ourselves much more effectively than the government can."

For local or state authorities "to conduct any meaningful spot-check inspections on dispensaries, grow operations or other wellness or caregiver operations, it would require a search warrant," Corry points out. "But for us to police our members, all we need is a signed contract in place -- and ideally, every dispensary and grow operation in Colorado will join our group. That way, we can make our case to the legislature and other government entities that we're truly policing ourselves."

Earlier this week, Corry staged a press conference about CWA at Full Spectrum Laboratories -- a setting chosen to emphasize another potential benefit of the trade group. "We want to maintain quality control through objective scientific analysis of the medicine," he says. "We'd like to start with that and then gradually, week by week, roll out additional services and additional controls and requirements of our members. We'll do a lot of positive things for members, but we'll also be policing them -- and I think they'd rather deal with us than law enforcement."

Another idea: "I think there's going to have to be a neutral, objective citizen board in place with a strong patient component," Corry says. "I see us developing that in the coming weeks" with the assistance of former state senator Bob Hagedorn, who's agreed to consult with an eye toward shaping proposals that can then be presented to legislators, many of whom already have notions of their own; note Senator Al White's idea for putting the state in charge of medical-marijuana growing and distribution.

Hagedorn brings a lot to the table, in Corry's view. "He has a long and distinguished background in healthcare-field issues," he says. "He was chairman of a senate committee that handled healthcare, and he's very knowledgeable about the way government and healthcare interact. He's also very creative and has an open mind."

Example: "I understand that he initially opposed Amendment 20," the measure that legalized medical marijuana in Colorado. "And I think that's an asset. It shows that he's really objective and neutral. But he also understands that the government doesn't get to pick and choose which measures they're going to enforce, and which ones they're not. There may be some people who oppose some aspects of the state constitution, but majority rules and the voters have spoken. So let's make it work."

Another bonus about Hagedorn, in Corry's view: "He sponsored the bill to make 'Rocky Mountain High' our state song. So I definitely think there's hope for Senator Hagedorn."

And, by association, presumably, the Colorado Wellness Association.

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