Wake-Up Call: Putting a lid on medical marijuana dispensaries

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Despite suggestions that he hold his horses and wait to see what the Colorado Legislature does, Charlie Brown pressed on with his proposal to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in the city of Denver, and that proposal will go to a vote of the full council tonight, after a two-hour public hearing.

And just in the nick of time, too, because now it looks like the legislature will be considering a bill that would eliminate dispensaries altogether.

On Saturday, state senator Chris Romer revealed on the Huffington Post that he was eliminating most of the bill he'd proposed to take before the legislature, keeping just the portion that refers to the patient-physician relationship. "This should allow for more time to negotiate," Romer says. And there's definitely more room to negotiate, since he's keeping just a fraction of the complicated proposal that originally started out at over sixty pages and didn't make people in the medical marijuana industry any happier when it was cut in half; the language he's keeping doesn't refer to grow operations or dispensaries at all.

But then, there's another proposal coming -- this one from law-enforcement groups not inclined to negotiate with Romer -- that will make the industry even less happy, since it would put a five-person limit on the number of patents a "caregiver" can help, essentially eliminating dispensaries.

Would that include dispensaries in Denver, a home-rule city? Leave that one to the lawyers -- and the Denver City Attorney hasn't hesitated to fight for Denver ordinances, including the city's pit bull ban, when they conflict with Colorado law.

In the meantime, here's some of the language from Romer's bill that still survives. But then, the legislature doesn't convene for two more days:

IN ADDITION TO THE DEFINITIONS SET FORTH IN SECTION 14 (1) OF ARTICLE XVIII OF THE STATE CONSTITUTION, AS USED IN THIS SECTION, UNLESS THE CONTEXT OTHERWISE REQUIRES: (a) "BONA FIDE PHYSICIAN-PATIENT RELATIONSHIP" MEANS: (I) A TREATMENT OR COUNSELING RELATIONSHIP IN THE COURSE OF WHICH A PHYSICIAN HAS COMPLETED A FULL ASSESSMENT OF THE PATIENT'S MEDICAL HISTORY AND CURRENT MEDICAL CONDITION, INCLUDING A PERSONAL PHYSICAL EXAMINATION; (II) THE PHYSICIAN HAS CONSULTED WITH THE PATIENT WITH RESPECT TO THE PATIENT'S DEBILITATING MEDICAL CONDITION BEFORE THE PATIENT APPLIES FOR A REGISTRY IDENTIFICATION CARD; AND THE PHYSICIAN PROVIDES FOLLOW-UP CARE AND TREATMENT TO THE PATIENT, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO PATIENT EXAMINATIONS, TO DETERMINE THE EFFICACY OF THE USE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA AS A TREATMENT OF THE PATIENT'S DEBILITATING MEDICAL CONDITION.

And that physician should be in "good standing," which means the following:

THE PHYSICIAN HOLDS A DOCTOR OF MEDICINE OR DOCTOR OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE DEGREE FROM AN ACCREDITED MEDICAL SCHOOL; THE PHYSICIAN HOLDS A VALID, UNRESTRICTED LICENSE TO PRACTICE MEDICINE IN COLORADO; AND THE PHYSICIAN HAS NOT HAD HIS OR HER UNITED STATES CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES REGISTRATION SUSPENDED OR REVOKED AT ANY TIME.

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