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Medical marijuana patient collectives: Attorney sees them as tool against caregiver restrictions

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HB 1284, the medical marijuana regulatory bill signed in June, is a complicated measure that changes many of the ways MMJ caregivers have operated. But attorney Adam Mayo thinks he may have found a work-around: patient collectives. He'll discuss the topic at length during a Monday Cannabis Therapy Institute seminar in Boulder -- but here's a sneak preview.

Among the portions in HB 1284 that offer challenges for caregivers is this passage: "A patient who has designated a primary caregiver for himself or herself may not be designated as a primary caregiver for another patient."

This sentence's impact is potentially far-reaching. According to MMJ advocate Timothy Tipton, representatives of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have recommended for years that husbands name their wives as their caregiver, and vice versa. But the sentence above disallows that practice. And the same goes for patient-caregivers who've designated friends and colleagues to supply their medication in exchange for doing the same for them.

adam mayo photograph.jpg
Adam Mayo.
In our August post "Medical Marijuana Patients May Have to Find New Caregivers Because of Language in New Law," we spoke to one caregiver in precisely this situation. He and another acquaintance have served as caregivers for each other, but that's now precluded. As a result, he told us, "I think I'm going to have to do is just become my own caregiver and only flower three plants -- and I won't be able to help anybody else. I won't be able to help my current caregiver if he has a crop failure or something like that, and I won't be able to help my other patients. They'll have to go to some other center."

Maybe not if he becomes a member of a patient collective, according to Mayo, who's based in Steamboat Springs. He explains the concept like so:

"Many patients don't have the space, the equipment or the ability to grow their own medical marijuana," he says. "For instance, they may live in a home with small children, a studio condo in a high rise, or they may want to avoid potential mold issues in their home. So, for many patients, the only way to obtain medicine is to go to a store and buy it from someone else. Patient collectives give them a location outside their home where they can grow medical marijuana themselves."


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