Medical marijuana advocate's call not to disturb legislative process for bill stirs controversy

greg goldfogel cropped.jpg
Greg Goldfogel.
The Cannabis Therapy Institute sent out an "action alert" to its members regarding today's planned second reading of HB 1260, a bill to set THC driving limits. But after a similar alert last week regarding HB 1250, which originally sought to ban all MMJ edibles, infused-products manufacturer Greg Goldfogel e-mailed a note of his own, asking advocates not to disrupt the legislative process. Which didn't go over too well with some of them.

Here's a key passage of the CTI alert related to the edibles legislation:

Many of the Reps. read their e-mail during these hearings. If you hear something you disagree with when you listen live online, you can send the committee members an e-mail, and there is a good chance they will see it. It is very important is people to e-mail the Reps. with links and research refuting any law enforcement misinformation. Since this hearing is will not allow public comment, real-time e-mails will be even more important.

And here's the response from Goldfogel, who owns Sweet n Savory, a medical marijuana edibles company, and is a member of both the Department of Revenue's MMJ advisory committee and the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, a powerful trade association that lobbies the legislature on related issues.

Dear industry friends,

I have information for GOOD AND RELIABLE sources that the amendment being promulgated and voted on tomorrow is NOT going to ban edibles, but merely (as proposed) give the DOR the ability to increase packaging standards to keep edibles and other infused products out of the hands of children. In other words, the bill as amended is BENIGN.

I STRONGLY urge our community to not do anything to disturb or distract the process.

Respectfully,

Greg Goldfogel

Several advocates who've spoken to Westword were offended by this request, feeling that Goldfogel was asking them to give up their free speech rights in order to advance the goals of MMIG. But Goldfogel, whose background includes the acclaimed eatery Ristorante Amore and Alto Denver, a jazz club and restaurant, says that was not his intention.

cindy acree photo.jpg
HB 1250 sponsor Representative Cindy Acree.
"There are two ways to effect change, and both can be equally effective," he maintains. "One is banging at the gates from the outside, screaming at people. And the other is sitting at the table as a respected member of the community, negotiating. And I personally believe the approach of sitting down at the table is going to achieve better results. Not to deny the confrontational approach. It has its place. But I don't think this was the time for that."

Indeed, HB 1250, sponsored by Representative Cindy Acree, had mutated from a full-scale edibles ban to a measure intended to ensure that infused-products packaging was designed and labeled in ways that would keep MMJ away from kids -- something upon which he feels all parties can agree.

"I believe that most members of our industry are in favor of making sure these products only go to registered patients with a doctor's recommendation," he says. "We certainly don't want it to fall into the hands of children. So I'm certainly in favor of stricter requirements about that, and it's pretty hard to argue against it."

Of course, the Department of Revenue already has the power to create regulations governing labeling and packaging, prompting some observers to brand the bill superfluous. But Goldfogel still sees it as a positve.

"I think it's one step more toward moving this industry into legitimacy," he allows. "[The Department of Revenue's] Matt Cook uses the term 'baby steps' -- not trying to go too far. And a lot of us want to have everything all at once. But this is another baby step, and if it makes the legislature and the voters of Colorado happy to know this is another level of control for the Department of Revenue, so be it.

Thumbnail image for simply pure coconut almond cups.JPG
Coconut Almond cups from Simply Pure, an MMJ edibles company.
"Within the pro-medical marijuana community, there are clearly two camps: the people who believe regulation is a good thing and those who believe any regulation is harming their ability to grow their own. And I'm clearly in the pro-regulation camp -- and I think most of the industry is. I spoke before the judiciary committee a few weeks ago and took a straw poll of everybody there. I asked how many in the room would be in favor of keeping this out of the hands of children and away from people without a doctor's recommendation. And of the 350 or so people who were there, if there were more than five people who didn't raise their hand, I'd be shocked. As a community, people understand this is medicine, and in the same way you want to keep any prescription medicine out of the hands of children, it's my job as an infused-products manufacturer to discourage children from touching it."

Goldfogel describes himself as "a huge advocate for First Amendment rights," so the idea that he was trying to muzzle free speech makes him chuckle. "I simply suggested, 'Let's let calmer minds prevail, and I think you'll be happy with the outcome.' There was no reason to send texts and e-mails to people during the meeting, because we'd already won. And if you've already won the battle, why would you want to show up at the front lines and scream at the soldiers?

"This is just one man's opinion," he acknowledges, "but I feel we're at a stage where we need to all be moving together toward the same goal if we're going to be able to better serve our patients."

Page down to read the Cannabis Therapy Institute's action alert regarding HB 1261, the THC driving-limits bill.

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TheDino247
TheDino247

No one should be badmouthing Greg Goldfogel.  Without his representation and expertise the medical marijuana community would not be nearly as far along as we are.  Most of you out there have obviously never met or even spoken with Goldfogel.  We need more people out there like him.  Goldfogel expends great amounts of time and resources to ensure that the legislative processes satisfy the great number of people out there against medical marijuana while all the time advancing the movement.  The truth is that Colorado would not be nearly as medical marijuana friendly without Goldfogel's influence.  Greg is a true believer that together we can change for the best.  If you are a fan of Google, then try digging just a little deeper.  When is the last time you viewed the SECOND page of search results or even the third? 

anonymous
anonymous

MMIG is on record supporting another year of state moratorium on new medical marijuana businesses. Clearly they aren't a pro-patient organization by any reasonable standard of measure.

ColoradoMidnightRider
ColoradoMidnightRider

BOO GREG! We've been a professional and credible community for well overadecade before you came along. Mis-information is abundant and since COMMR has been exposed for theiving and disbanded, Now the media gropes for lamenews stories like these which identify MMIG as a powerful group. BUNK, no list of even who they are, no identitys......

Always Eating
Always Eating

And im sure that all 3 people who got Goldfogel's emails didnt interupt.

1250 is still a BAD BILL

Shame on Rep. Cindy Acree for even bringing it up!!!

lilnutz
lilnutz

And let's get some factual and non-prejudice, unbiased information. You people are telling half the story, what are we in 3rd grade? Grow up people, look all around..every mmj business is trying to capitalize on the industry. Why beat down the one's trying to keep it real....people have turned into cattle, seriously. I am ashamed of how we can't all come together on this legislation and get the patients medicated, and rightly so....

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

I'm sorry you don't seem to read my posts, or respond to them. Try approaching the problem rationally. The cops tell a whole lot of lies about medical edibles which don't exist turning up in Colorado schools -- do you really suppose the most sensible response is to act as though their laughable lies are true and move on to proposed solutions? Those solutions to the non-existent problem were 1) ban all edibles, 2) ban any edible which was intended to appeal to kids, or had the effect of appealing to kids, or was similar to any food which might appeal to kids (think "brownie" and refer back to 1)), or 3) require that edibles be sold in some kind of imaginary packaging able to defeat twelve-to-eighteen-year-olds who know what's inside and want it, while permitting enfeebled MS patients access.

So which incoherent nonsense proposed by our enemies is it that you want to go along with? Anything they propose? Is it an effective legislative strategy to always react to our political enemies instead of advancing our own ideas? Our enemies always try to drag children into the line of fire -- does that mean that we should bleat about the safety of children instead of making our case? Mr. Goldfogel is not helping to end Prohibition by trying to pander to people who do not support cannabis, medical or otherwise, and if you cannot see that, you are unlikely to be much help either. We need people who can think clearly and understand what politics is to become involved in the debate. We cannot compromise and concede our way to victory -- reality is that tremendous inertia and vested interests oppose the re-legalization of cannabis. Read the Haag memo yet?

freebags
freebags

Yeah, let's starve out a man who wants to keep medicine, safely out of the reach of children. Genius idea......educate yourself, all of ya.....haters.

Sampson420
Sampson420

Boycott any Sweet n Savory products.

Starving their business of cash is the ONLY way jokers like Greg Goldfogel will go away.

Denverplayful
Denverplayful

Greg Goldfogel needs to be STOPPED.  He filed bankruptcy for 2 "Italian restaurants" then felt he could start an MMJ edible company or companies in his case.  Check out the states list of IPM manufacturers and they all lead back to him as GHS Partners, LLC using the Morrison Kitchen as an address.  

Sweet n Savory is a completely fake entity and he just filed Bankruptcy for this company!!  He also has another it is Mangia Gangia he runs all of these out of the Morrison Kitchen and allows ANYONE to bake and sell under his license he is giving this industry a terrible name and it will all catch up with him and the companies he runs and declares bankruptcy for in just a matter of time.He brags to everyone that will listen about how to get around the system(s) declare bankruptcy then buy a new car to help build your credit again.  People like Goldfogel and his fake business and business practices need to be STOPPED

Ggoldfogel
Ggoldfogel

Now I've seen everything.  There is not a scintilla of truth in the above, and I will pursue an action for slander when I find out who rights such dribble.  So, here's the fact.  After losing almost $ 2 MM in my last restaurant attempting to do terrible things like keep live music in Denver and support every imaginable charity and employee rather than feeding my family (all very well documented), I was forced to file for PERSONAL Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Protection.  Neither my first restaurant (already closed) nor GHS or any of it's supporting entities were involved ON ANY LEVEL, other than being mentioned as an obligatory sidebar in the filing.  

Please verify with the bankruptcy trustee, Harvey Sender or the court the accuracy of the above.  GHS is not a "fake business" and I don't allow ANYONE to bake and sell under my license.  I suggest that inaccurate slanderous emails anonymous emails by assholes might be contributing to the bad name of this industry.

Last time I checked, the purpose of our country's bankruptcy laws is to allow someone to get back on their feet without been lambasted by strangers.  If you have a claim against me, I suggest you fill it with the courts.  And as for my new car, do some homework.   You will find than an 18% car loan with 50% down is the only way to restore credit in  bk, and my personal credit score was 786 (please feel free to verify) the day I lost Alto.

If anyone has any interest in what I'm really up to, including raising substantial funds for cannabanoid leukemia research, please write down the following:  Greg's personal cell number is 720-999-8838 and his email address is ggoldfogel@aol:disqus .com.  And unlike the chicken shits who slander people for absolutely no reason without Identifying themselves, I am proud to write that my name is Greg S Goldfogel and that make a positive difference in this community and world..

info
info

Maybe we should boycott places like One Brown Mouse in Nederlands run by Kathleen Chippi who never even bothered applying for a marijuana license yet still sells dope to anyone who stops in. Or boycott the do-nothing institutions like Cannabis Therapy Institute run by Laura Kriho who thrives on conflict and has yet to accomplish anything besides looking like a fool and trying to create controversy.

Colorado has the most advanced marijuana policy in the country, that is a point without debate. The assumption that anyone wanting to support legislation is the devil and deserving of a boycott is childish and unproductive.

It is the same people in all of these forums that think they're scoring some victory by talking down on those who have dedicated themselves to progressing this industry. Whether you jokers like it or not, Greg has already done more to progress the industry than any of you ever will combined (and is a pretty fantastic, sincere, passionate individual if you so desired to get to know him).

Concerned Patients
Concerned Patients

Really what has Greg done except for LIE about his businesses check him out and you will see his days are numbered in this industry.  He is a idiot and doesn't know or understand any ethics or legalities about running or conducting a legitimate business!

His entire team at MANGIA GANJIA  are fakes and their products all are horrible!  Even the cheeba chews are crap they are made by the ladies at twice baked also a cheezy company under the morrison kitchen/goldfogel trap they are NOT tested as they pretend!  Challenge him just ASK for proof or to see the Cheeba Kitchen all paths lead to Greg Goldfogel and another one of his scams!

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

"Maybe we should boycott places like One Brown Mouse in Nederlands run by Kathleen Chippi who never even bothered applying for a marijuana license yet still sells dope to anyone who stops in."

Info? "yet still sells dope to anyone who stops in" ?? You clearly don't have the correct info or balls to write your name you slandering shit. One Brown Mouse has been closed for 8 months while I have been working on suing the state based on everything unconstitutional the General Assembly passed last year ON BEHALF OF EVERYONE STATEWIDE, INCLUDING YOUR DUMB ASS.

I never sold "dope" to anyone who stopped in, even when I was open. Show your evidence and sign your name.

You are right that I "never even bothered" to apply for a state license--it was voluntary to apply to be an MMC and I don't take well to:

1. giving up my constitutional rights as a patient or caregiver 2. or giving up my power of attorney to the CO DoR 3. or giving up patients rights (for them) by even implying I could work with law enforcement via hb1284 to videotape them or track their purchases or count their plants

Maybe you lash out at me because you did apply to be an MMC and agreed to all above and now realize it's slim pickens for when and who gets to get licensed by the state to work with law enforcement and the DEA to monitor patients use of the safest therapeutic substance known to man with no known lethal dose?

Samuel Wells
Samuel Wells

Ms. Chippi, anyone who has been paying attention at all for the past few years understands that you have been one of the most consistent and positive pro-patient voices in Colorado. My guess (and it is just a guess) is that some of the posters here may be friends or even paid employees of the so-called "advocate" who is the subject of this article: while such anonymous marketing is illegal in the EU, there are no regulations against it in the US. I have seen many posts in other, similar articles here at Westword that seem to fall into the same category. Some employees have identified themselves but I know for a fact others have posted anonymously to imitate grassroots support for the elimination of our Constitutional rights.

I have never met you but I admire you tremendously. Forget the haters: there are many people in the state who know the many battles you have waged on the behalf of the citizens of this fine state. YOU are the true advocate here!

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

He's right. Info who will not use his name. But info and those who have dedicated themselves to progressing this industry. Here are their accomplishments

From the Hagg memo 2/1/11: "we will enforce the CSA vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law.

From the DOR rules 3/18/11: "Surveillance recordings and clear still photos must be made available to the MMED and law enforcement upon an administrative or law enforcement request demonstrating that the information sought is relevant and material to a legitimate regulatory or law enforcement inquiry."

So the DEA won't even have to vigorously enforce CSA all they will have to do is ask the MMED for the information and poof everyone who has bought at a dispensary, the owners and workers the DEA will have clear evidence that your are in violation of the CSA and that is how a lot of people will be looking at coping federal charges. Like I said scary shit is happening and we need to stand up against it before it's too late.

So thanks guys thanks for progressing this industry to this point I can wait to see where you will take us in the future. Or remember it's still our government and that the noose that is currently forming has not yet been roped around the neck of this industry and we can fight back and must fight back!

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

Not one of the nitwits shows the slightest interest. Unless their lawyers tell them about it or the raids begin, they won't even acknowledge that there has been a change in Federal policy. The willingness of the industry to turn a blind eye to the disclosure of grow locations to the DEA provided for by HB10-1284 was evidence of delusional thinking, and the determination not to read the letter from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag lest they discover we are right is more.

Hermit
Hermit

All this bluster over MMJ and still no action on the $1.1 billion budget shortfall. Keep kicking the can down the street with empty, feel good legislation which targets a minority of citizens. Pretty soon, the piper will demand that the bills owed by the State of Colorado will be payed or he will stop playing and every one of you will face a different kind of music from your outraged constituents who have just got their services cut off for lack of funding.

Personally, I can't wait for the budget melt-down, it's a long time coming and maybe Colorado citizens will finally wake up and get a new broom, which sweeps the bastards out.

Guest
Guest

I personally don't see the need for this bill but causing a disturbance is not a smart way to express opposition.

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

Well, don't cause a disturbance, and don't give any cannabis to children!

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

Kudos to Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg (R) for voting against HB11-1261! Rep. Sonnenberg, please disassociate yourself from the Greater Fascist Party; we need independents in the General Assembly (to represent the largest group of voters in the state)!

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

HB-1261, cannabis DUI, just passed the second reading in the house. Best quote goes to Rep. Waller of Colorado's 15th.

"Driving is a privilege and it is your constitutional right to refuse to submit to a blood draw. Once you exercise your constitutional right to refuse your blood test you loose your privilege to drive."

Thank god we have MMIG standing up to bills like this. Without them at the table cannabis users could be forced to choose between having there forth amendment rights grossly violated by the government by stealing blood or loosing their licenses. Oh..wait..sorry MMIG was neutral..sorry again. Let's try this again, MMIG capitulated to this bill showing they have no concern for patients, the constitution of Colorado or the constitution of the United States. But thank your god they are at the being respected and negotiating away your rights. Like I said before MMIG is not on our side and this struggle will be won by the people on the streets, join us it's a lot more productive and fund then sitting with politicos discussing how best to strip away your rights.

lilnutz
lilnutz

thank you, Corey....u r wise....

Samuel Wells
Samuel Wells

Greg Goldfogel is NOT a "medical marijuana advocate": he is a BUSINESSMAN. By definition, he expends his efforts to create a profit for himself while reducing those made by his competition. That is the only thing he cares about and will align himself with patient-advocates only as long as there is money to be made. The moment that changes, his "support" will vanish.

LNC
LNC

Goldfogel a business man?!  NOT check him out just google his name he has filed bankruptcy over and over and over again.  This is just his newest scam and he doesn't do one thing a reputable edible company should be doing!  

lilnutz
lilnutz

how do you know? Back that up.....blah blah blah blah

Blanco_coney
Blanco_coney

Perhaps that should happen, less he shows support for the patients.After all, it is the patients that keep the business open.

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

"There are two ways to effect change, and both can be equally effective," he maintains. "One is banging at the gates from the outside, screaming at people. And the other is sitting at the table as a respected member of the community, negotiating. And I personally believe the approach of sitting down at the table is going to achieve better results. Not to deny the confrontational approach. It has its place. But I don't think this was the time for that."

70 Years of reefer madness how long should we sit at the table as a respected member of the community. How long should we wait and negotiate? 150 years? A wrong policy is a wrong policy. People need to see the brutal truth of the drug war on us 28% of people in prison for non violent marijuana crimes. No respect for states rights, just ask Montana. People dieing in no knock raids. AMERICA IS THE LARGEST PRISON NATION ON EARTH BECAUSE OF THE DRUG WAR ON US!

No more waiting no more arrests no more caring if we are a respectable member in the eyes of the legislature. Take it too the streets the government works for us not the other way around disrupt YOUR political process as much as you want. It's your right.

Also Spring is coming, spread your seeds all around government and other buildings, show people this movement can not be held back just like the nature we advocate for can not be held back!

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Many strong takes about this post, including yours, Corey. Thanks, everyone, for weighing in.

Wilkerson
Wilkerson

Screaming always works. I encourage all of you to show up at all committee hearings and scream your heads off. I'm sure the politicians will realize that your screaming is the result of many hours of judicious and rational contemplation instead of the byproduct of a waning buzz, and will be persuaded toward your position.

Ah, sweet, sweet screaming. Sometimes it sounds like music!

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

We are not supplicants at the feet of our overlords, but citizens who are fed up with the willful ignorance, stupidity, and cupidity of society and its abjectly pathetic representatives. The General Assembly's hostility to the express will of the People of Colorado with respect to medical cannabis and its arrogant and unconstitutional usurpation of authority from the Department of Health warrant shutting down the General Assembly until it amends its mistake -- we just don't enough screamers to accomplish that.

Have you read the Haag memo yet? You might find this two-page statement of current Justice Department policy towards medical cannabis enlightening.

Mary May Stanley
Mary May Stanley

"Don't disturb or distract from the process." Yeah, right, don't contact your legislators. MMIG says it's OK. These people don't want you from swaying their political agenda, why else would they be telling people not to contact their elected representatives.

lilnutz
lilnutz

So you don't undermine what you are to blind to see.....

Peter Louis
Peter Louis

Goldfogel thinks that writing to legislators is the same thing as "screaming at them"? Grow up, MMIG. This is real politics.

Thedawg
Thedawg

More Nanny-State BS, don't these people have more important things to do...

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

Goldfogels's impromptu poll of the audience, conducted with the tacit acceptance of Rep. Gardner, subtly (at least, too subtly for all but five, including me) skewed the issue -- his account here is accurate enough. I am not against regulation at all, but there is absolutely no reason for us to support additional laws or regulations to further criminalize or restrict the transfer of cannabis to non-patients or minors: we have a superabundance already! The debate is not between those who support sensible regulations versus anarchists, it is between reactionary, capitulationist, greedheads and activists.

I understand how and why so many people in the industry and so many casual observers line up to be served Stanley/Brown/Albarez/Goldfogel/Elliott's pablum. The Administration declared war on medical cannabis on February 1 (see the Haag memo: http://www.cannabistherapyinst.... The final answer to all the crap out of CMMR/MMIG may be coming soon in the form of DEA raids, arrests, and confiscature of property.

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