Medical marijuana: HB 1043 co-sponsor Pat Steadman not sure he agrees with entire bill

senator pat steadman.jpg
Pat Steadman.
Last week, we shared info about HB 1043, a new medical marijuana bill co-sponsored by Representative Tom Massey, who helped shepherd Colorado's main MMJ regulatory bill through the legislature and into law.

Partnering with Massey is Senator Pat Steadman, who describes 1043 as a work in progress. He admits being uncertain that he agrees with everything in the current draft, on view below.

"I started working on some cleanup and changes to the bill that passed last year," Steadman explains. "Then I learned Tom Massey wanted to do the same thing, and I felt it would be better not to have two different bills moving through the process that were both trying to do the same thing -- address things that got left out, things that were drafted incorrectly or are perhaps being interpreted in a way that wasn't intended now that the departments are implementing the legislation.

"So the two got merged together," he continues, "and we agreed Tom would start it in the house. So there are things in this bill that are his, and I told him I may not be 100 percent on board with all of them. But as the bill moves through the process, we'll have those debates."

Thumbnail image for tom massey portrait.jpg
Tom Massey.
At this point, Steadman is still studying Massey's proposals -- but he's eager to talk about his own areas of interest, beginning with what's known as the 35-day rule. That edict asks patients not to buy medical marijuana until 35 days after an application is turned in to give the health department time to approve or reject the submission.

For most of last year, the department took far longer than that to consider aps, "and now that they've caught up, I don't know that it's quite as bad a problem," Steadman concedes. "But in my mind, if a doctor recommends medical marijuana, a patient should be able to get that medication on the way home from the doctor's office, just like with prescription drugs. I know some paperwork has to be filled out -- so maybe a patient would need to go to a post office in between. But to the extent that a doctor says, 'This is going to help you,' we should let the patient have access. They shouldn't have to wait for bureaucrats at the health department to process their application."

Steadman was also troubled by the health department's rejection of nearly 2,000 MMJ applications last year after deciding that doctors with conditions or restrictions on their licenses shouldn't be allowed to make recommendations. About 1,300 applications were reinstated after public outcry, but only temporarily -- and an advisory committee recently left language about conditions and restrictions intact.

"I realize we may only be talking about a few doctors," Steadman says. "But the health department took a pretty hard line. So I've tried to create a procedure where doctors can go to get clarification from their licensing board."

Why is this necessary? Steadman cites the example of a surgeon who'd told he can no longer operate because he's developed a tremor -- "but just because he can't hold a scalpel doesn't mean he can't treat chronic pain. That doesn't have anything to do with his medical judgment."

Given that the health department has been pushing for MMJ-recommendation bans against physicians with conditions or restrictions on their license, officials might be expected to oppose this portion of 1043 -- but Steadman is optimistic.

"I fleshed out this idea during a conversation with someone from the health department, who was very supportive," agreeing with the general premise that "it shouldn't be one of their employees asked to pass judgment and interpret a license condition or restriction. That decision should be made by the medical board, not by folks over at the health department."

robert fisher picture of a dispensary display.jpg
Photo by Robert Fisher
In addition, Steadman wants to let infused-product manufacturers share kitchens or facilities in ways that are currently nixed, and he's still working on ways to address patient-confidentiality concerns, among other things. However, the bill doesn't take on the part of last year's bill that allowed communities or municipalities to ban medical marijuana dispensaries by a vote of local governing bodies or the area's citizens.

"When I voted for 1284, it was kind of a hold-your-nose-and-vote-for-it thing -- and I did not like those provisions," he allows. "I think people who object to them by saying they're unconstitutional may have a pretty good argument. But one reason I decided not to tackle the issue this year is that it's going to be litigated and we're going to get a ruling from the Supreme Court" -- although not as quickly as originally thought.

Another factor: "The election brought a lot of changes to the legislature, and I don't know that revisiting that issue and achieving a different outcome than last year would be politically feasible."

In Steadman's view, 1043 needn't become the dominant legislative issue that it was last year. He hopes it will move through the state house and senate with a minimum of muss and fuss. Nonetheless, he's under no illusions that the tweaks will be done at that point.

"In all likelihood, the legislature will keep working on changes and improvements on the regulatory scheme for a number of years," he says. "But it's here to stay, and we're proving to be a model for other states that are looking to create a viable and well-regulated medical marijuana industry."

Page down to read the current draft of HB 1043.

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19 comments
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Bud Tokerman
Bud Tokerman

Kathleen Chippi said it best below. I myself on my last recent renewal of my recommendation told the doctor I WOULD NOT be registering with the CO Health Dept. because of the main issue of sharing the information with other agencies that's supposed to be private.Since I grow my own and only for myself, and order my seeds from online England and Spain seed distributors, I don't need anyone else, no dispensary, no caregiver, ect. I will not register with the state,- medical information should be kept PRIVATE

Herbalist Specialist
Herbalist Specialist

Thats right. If we boycott the system and not register or re-register, the government will think twice about what they are trying to do. The powers that be rely on honest people to PAY the way for them to regulate the hell out of us! Hit em where it hurts, in the wallet.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Interesting take, Bud Tokerman. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Wow, thanks, Pat Steadman (D), for helping clean up a thin SLICE of the mess you helped create. It's the least you can do, but don't pretend or market it as for the patients.

The only reason patients need you to correct this is because you, (and the majority of) the legislature, voted to pass hb1284. There was no '35 day rule' or confusing debate about it until you all passed it, against the will of the people and the public comment.

And the '35 day rule' only affected people shopping in a MMC and MMC's themselves. Patients still have the right to use their meds immediately after a doctor signs their recommendation. Caregivers or anyone can help supply them. Any patient has the right to the acquisition of their meds.

Too bad the patient privacy issue doesn't affect you with the same urgency. I think patients are more concerned about their privacy, as cannabis use or possession is still federally illegal. The release of patient info to numerous government and law enforcement agencies (dept of revenue, all law enforcement statewide, dept of labor and employment, dmv) means they can/will be closer to eventually losing their job, driver license, children, health insurance, government aid, not to forget their FREEDOM if/when breach occurs.

Saying the Supreme Court will decide patient privacy is BS. You have been working on your language for months now and you didn't know about the Supreme Court filing until Jan 5th, when it was filed. Implying that filing is why patient privacy is not in your language is shameful.

The real reason patient privacy doesn't matter to you is because patients don't have high paid lobbyists, fighting for their rights at the capitol building, like business/industry do.

And I'm sure the '35 day rule' hurt businesses and the industry. Of course it did, because while patients 'waited' the 35 days before they could shop in an MMC, they found a caregiver who could provide for them. Then--who needs a MMC, where they will be under Orwellian surveillance beyond anything ever experienced in US, after they have found a caregiver? The loss of patients MMC's would suffer would probably put them out of business. Yet, you act like your doing a favor for patients? This language is all about business and industry and collecting data on patients---NOT HELPING PATIENTS.

If you want to help the patients, write language to repeal everything unconstitutional you helped pass in HB1284. Having the support of thousands of patients (when your up for re election) is better than the support of a few white, wealthy, mostly out of state lobbyist and their clients. It's amazing what can happen when you do the right thing.

Starter
Starter

I am sorry but I have to back up small caregivers as they been put threw the ringer under HB-1284 which suppose to be the Commercial side of MMJ a grey cloud forms over small caregivers as they are not considered commercial but independents,so in all facts Hb-1284 doesn't count for the small independents even tho the corrupted officials would say different into there unconstitutional laws of 1284 the small caregiver so that 5 per small caregiver is unjust and unconstitutional so as much as the MMC's don't nor backed the patients nor the caregivers up!!! still everyone needs to continue the fight to move forward .To see a unjust law and not challenge it is unjust it self MLK

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Your right, caregivers, patients and doctors are the ONLY ones protected by the constitution. The blue book that described the intent of the (out of state) authors of Amendment 20 said they did not intend pot superstores---only caregivers.

The arguments made in the original action we filed with the supreme court show case law that proves all caregiver regulations in hb1284 as unconstitutional. You can read it at cannabislawsuit.com.

Jim
Jim

Thank you for all of your efforts, Kathleen

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Kathleen, your thoughtful posts are always appreciated. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Coloradonative
Coloradonative

You remind me of a paranoid person, for the simple fact of your thinking. When you can not rationalize the issue you jump to the conspiracy theory.

BTW: Thank you for embrassing the MMJ community with your recent submittion to the Co Supreme Court. Your motion was denied in RECORD time. Does that not tell you ANYTHING???

Robert
Robert

You all should read the petition -- the arguments it makes have merit. As for the Court's rejection, I don't know whether it was done in record time or not, but the petition was for immediate relief. The Court may have considered merely that no sufficient showing of a need for its urgent action was made. The Court did not reject the arguments in the petition; it simply refused to act upon it directly. Similar cases are being filed in lower courts, and when the DOR promulgates the smotheringly obtrusive regulations it has prepared to implement unconstitutional HB1284, the issue will go before the Supreme Court.

Starter
Starter

You a joke clown and wtf you doing at all coming on and dissing a lady who is at least trying no you don't represent the mmj community your stupid ass would of been thanking her if it passed in favor for us and you can claim you wouldn't but in the end your life as a legal patient if you are even one would of lived life better clown now stfu and keep your sorry post to yourself oh right we do have freedom of speech so keep using it .Kathleen keep the fight going show the rest of the MMC's sell out's how dispensaries should of done it and maybe more patients would have respect and confident in them .

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

your right, the government will never lie to you about marijuana.

So, re establishing RIGHTS we all have via the Colorado Constitution embarrasses you. Comical.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

I even marked I liked your comment---keep them coming---the public loves a laugh.

Nikki
Nikki

You're a hell of a woman, Kathleen :)

SailorJerry
SailorJerry

Please attend this Wednesday's Board of Health meeting. LOCATION TIME Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 10:00 a.m. Sabin Conference Room, Bldg. A, 1st Floor 4300 Cherry Creek Drive, S., Denver, CO 80246 The Board of Health is, likely, going to making a final decision on "5 CCR 1006-2, Medical Use of Marijuana, codifying petitioning process to add debilitating medical conditions."This regulation will set the model/standard for the petition process for adding medical conditions which qualify a person for medicinal cannabis. Currently the BOH is considering to high of a standard for adding new medical conditions to the list. The BOH is considering using a standard of ONLY looking at studies which have been conducted as Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT), or the next higher step, Double-blind-placebo controlled RCT’s (Sciences highest standard possible). Unfortunately, with cannabis being a Schedule 1 drug, access to it has been greatly restricted, and consequently not very many studies have been done with cannabis that meant the standard of RCT’s. Therefore come to the BOH meeting this Wednesday and tell the BOH to go with the lower standard for adding new medical conditions, otherwise they will be adversely harming Colorado citizens by setting the “bar” to high.

Andrew
Andrew

Why does this same image have to be included in so many marijuana-related articles on Westword? Please retire this photo premanently. thanks

Starter
Starter

Pat Steadman."When I voted for 1284, it was kind of a hold-your-nose-and-vote-for-it thing -- and I did not like those provisions," he allows. "I think people who object to them by saying they're unconstitutional may have a pretty good argument. But one reason I decided not to tackle the issue this year is that it's going to be litigated and we're going to get a ruling from the Supreme Court" -- although not as quickly as originally thought.

Guest
Guest

The ? is why you so into a picture when there's more important things to handle.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Observation noted, Andrew. We'll try to mix it up more in the future. Thanks for commenting.

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