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