Medical marijuana final rules published: Big Brother video regs improved, says attorney

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At 6 a.m., the Department of Revenue published the final version of the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division's rules. The document is 77 pages long, and attorney Warren Edson hasn't had time to study them at length. However, a number of elements jump out at him -- particularly the elimination of a previously discussed edict that MMJ centers video-record every patient transaction in ways that reminded many industry pros of George Orwell's 1984.

"The video requirements are dramatically minimized," says Edson. "Before, they talked about a twelve-by-twelve box, where the patient's ID and their red card would be placed and photographed. But now, there appears to be no tracking video-wise of sales or transactions at all.

"Don't get me wrong -- there are cameras at the front door, cameras all over the place. But the twelve-by-twelve box is clearly gone."

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Warren Edson.
Edson and other industry professionals were tipped about this development at a meeting last night of the Medical Marijuana Business Association. Among the attendees was Dan Hartman, division director of the enforcement division, also known as MMED.

Hartman referenced a previous public-comments hearing at which patients and MMJ center representatives "complained about a violation of privacy," Edson recalls. "They said, 'We don't want this stuff on the Internet and randomly available to law enforcement. And there are no standards as to who can get this info, why and how.'"

Cut to last night, when Hartman told business association members, "We listened to you" -- and Edson agrees that in this case, they did.

Not that every section of the document -- it's 77 pages long, down from 99 in the last draft -- is to Edson's liking. For instance, "the inventory definition is still very broad, and it includes things like shake: i.e., what many people consider waste material that weighs more than you get bang for it. Now, one ounce of cola buds is the equivalent of one ounce of shake, even though the monetary and medicinal value of these two items is dramatically different."

He's also not thrilled that clones will be included in the overall plant count.

Other items that caught Edson's eye: "lots of rules about timing and weighing and transportation, including a rule saying that a product's got to be transported to the medical marijuana center within 48 hours after being packaged and tagged;" "a very tight definition of the 70-30 rule," which requires MMCs to grow 70 percent of their own medicine, with up to 30 percent drawn from other sources; and this passage from a section entitled "Declaratory Orders Concerning the Colorado Medical Marijuana Code:"

Any person, municipality, county, or city and county, may petition the MMED for a statement of position concerning the applicability to the petitioner of any provision of the Code, or any regulation of the State Licensing Authority. The Division shall respond with a written statement of position within thirty (30) days of receiving such petition.

His interpretation? MMED has created a procedure for questions about or challenges to the code, which includes language compelling the state to explain its reasons for various decisions -- a good thing, he believes.

Likely to get a less enthusiastic reception from some advocates are sections about penalties, including the requirement "that licensees have to narc each other out within three business days," and what Edson calls "the smelly hippie rules." Here's a wacky excerpt:


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11 comments
Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

By all means work with the legislature accomplish their goals. Us activists will be on the streets with the people changing history. This is our moment we will be recorded as being on the side of justice, science, truth, compassion and history in this fight. Listen not to the soothsayers preaching "we must work with the government," we the people must change this illegal policy we gave the government 70 years to work it's our time to finish the job.

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

"It is very true that Pat Steadman, Matt Cook, and many others are tired of your childish temper tantrums, ask them yourself" -- most amusing; you are laboring under the misconception that I give a damn about the opinions of those irrelevancies -- I don't. I've got news for you: the pace and stridency of protests against the criminal conspiracy which runs Colorado is going to ratchet up, not down. The rest of your post is so non-reponsive that it is not worth the effort of a reply -- your reading comprehension is seriously deficient. Get this at least: I for one am not calling for a general boycott of MMCs (other than the Sweetleaf Compassion Center, which persists in advertising in the Denver Post and members of the MMIG, which sabotages patients in the General Assembly) -- yet. We appear to be on the verge of the State collecting confidential patient information and forwarding it on to the DEA -- before that happens, I want patients to know about it.

CTI
CTI

It appears the DOR has tried to address security and privacy concerns ofpatients, but they still fall far short of what is necessary to ensurepatient confidentiality. The new rules state that "Surveillance recordingsand clear still photos must be made available to the MMED and lawenforcement upon an administrative or law enforcement request demonstratingthat the information sought is relevant and material to a legitimateregulatory or law enforcement inquiry."

There is no definition of the word "legitimate", so this would probablyrequire MMCs to give patient surveillance recordings to the DOR or anyother law enforcement agency on demand, unless the MMC was willing to go tocourt to challenge the "legitimacy" of the request.

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

MMED is an unconstitutional entity, so there's not much point in obsessing about its every move. Everyone who has anything to do with cannabis needs to read the short (two-page) memo written by US Attorney Haag in response to an inquiry from Oakland, CA (http://www­.cannabist­herapyinst­itute.com/­legal/feds­/doj.haag.­memo.pdf). People have been misleading themselves about the import of the Ogden Memorandum (which supposedly enunciated a hands-off approach to medical cannabis in those states enlightened enough to have it) -- the Haag Memo makes it absolutely clear that anyone other than a dying patient is subject to investigation, arrest, prosecution, and incarceration. The MMIG does a disservice to its own members when it touts adherence to state law as conferring any protection from Federal prosecution -- it does not. Read just this one paragraph from it:

"The prosecution of individuals and organizations involved in the trade of any illegal drugs and the disruption of drug trafficking organizations is a core priority of the Department. This core priority includes prosecution of business enterprises that unlawfully market and sell marijuana. Accordingly, while the Department does not focus its limited resources on seriously ill individuals who use marijuana as part of a medically recommended treatment regimen in compliance with state law as stated in the October 2009 Ogden Memorandum, we will enforce the CSA [Controlled Substances Act] vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law. The Department's investigative and prosecutorial resources will continue to be directed toward these objectives."

The so-called "United States Justice Department" is revealed hereby to be an illegitimate institution waging war against the people of the United States, and an enemy of American liberty. Real Americans will act against the criminal gang of fascists controlling the Congress, many state legislatures, the courts, and their Schutzstaffel, the Injustice Department. No terrorist or serial murderer threatens our nation more than these rabid animals and the dupes who continue to prop them up.

Guest
Guest

Well patients, its been a good run...we have enjoyed serving you. Peace out.

Vulnerable Patient
Vulnerable Patient

FEAR MONGERING from the peanut gallery. Keep screaming Laura, Robert and Tim etc., You are succeeding in economically damaging the MMJ industry.The industry should get together and sue you all for driving the patients away from the safe, secure and legitimate MMJ centers. This would be just like the beef industry suing Oprah for saying don't eat meat. Beef, it's what's for dinner.

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

You are right. It is virtually certain that the implementation of these regulations (and HB11-1043) would result in the creation of a DEA Register of MMCs, MIPs, OPGLs, caregivers, and patients. The prohibitionists want to serve up our entire so-called "industry" to the DEA on a silver platter. We must warn patients at least of the danger of continuing to do business at MMCs, which will be required to forward patients' private information to the DOR.

anonymous
anonymous

Try smoking less and thinking more, Vulnerable Patient. I believe CTI and Robert Chase speak for a larger industry segment than MMIG.

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

[This is Robert Chase; I am not posting under multiple names for the purpose of trying to make adherents to our position seem more numerous.]

The truth is often frightening, but don't blame those who tell it! You may be a patient (who owns an MMC; hence the concern about "economically damaging the MMJ industry") -- we are not "the peanut gallery"; we are the activists who stay informed, attend and testify at hearings, write letters, and fight hard for patients' rights because we believe in patients' right to cannabis as medicine -- you represent those who are making pots of money while failing to stand up to our enemies.

Try dealing with the facts for a change. We say that the unconstitutional laws and regulations threaten the confidentiality and safety of patients and caregivers, and we point to specific language in the laws and regulations to back up our claims. We say that Colorado's laws and regulations will make it easier for the Federal Injustice Department to arrest and prosecute those who have any economic interest in MMCs, MIPs, and OPGLs -- there is no arguing with the facts we have adduced, so you fall back to your position that we are extremists. What we want is for some of the people who are making money to grow a brain and a spine, then help us fight the fight. Now is the time that patients need to consider that they may face negative consequences from buying their medicine from an MMC; if that causes them to stop doing so, MMCs will largely have themselves to blame for "applauding" and "welcoming" anti-cannabis legislation and failing to sue to overturn unconstitutional and unjust SB10-109 and HB10-1284. Focus on the "etc," in your post -- we are the true representatives of the interests of patients in this debate, and far more of them (especially those who are informed about the issues) side with us.

Vulnerable Patient
Vulnerable Patient

...but not MMBA or ACT4CO. Any group is larger than MMIG.

P.S. I can't smoke, but I sure do eat a bunch, the real issue is your weak and aimless comment to tell me to smoke less.

Vulnerable Patient
Vulnerable Patient

Actually Mr. Chase I am not an owner of any business, just a patient. My reference to economics addresses the fact that as you and the other "peanuts" scream and yell as activists and drive customers away.(opposed to an advocate who sits at the table to negotiate as a fellow citizen; while working with our system, not against it)

You are frightening patients away from buying their medicine from good dispensaries, run by good people who invested their money to help us.

What have you invested?

Your "activism," read anger, is a large factor in driving patients away, thus they do not spend money and dispensaries are going out of business. The licensing fees are not the only high cost to the industry, you are another high cost, maybe as high as 20% of the market. If you really cared about the patients you would teach them how to move forward in a positive way, not through fear mongering and frightening them away and back to the streets. As a patient I can get my needs met most effectively by having as many patients register as possible at the Health Department because it will show how much of a political influence we really have and it will ultimately reduce costs for everyone.

I see MMBAlliance.com and ACT4CO.org as examples of caring people who are truly invested in moving in a positive direction.

Take your head out of the sand and clean out your ears so you can listen to what is really happening. It is very true that Pat Steadman, Matt Cook, and many others are tired of your childish temper tantrums, ask them yourself.

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