Medical marijuana advisory committee shuts down, health dept. rejects caregiver definition
In February, a meeting of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's medical marijuana advisory committee resulted in a definition of caregivers that cheered committee member Jill Lamoureux, who called it "movement forward for patient and caregiver rights." Now, however, the committee has been shelved and its caregivers definition chucked at the advice of the Colorado Attorney General's Office.
According to the CDPHE's website, the committee completed its mission in early March, following its review and recommendations concerning patient rules; it can be reconvened on an as-needed basis. Afterward, its work was handed over to the AG's office, which determined that the caregivers rules were out of compliance with, among other things, the 2009 Colorado Court of Appeals opinion in the matter of Stacy Clendenin , a Longmont caregiver who was found guilty of marijuana possession and cultivation even though she was growing for patients.
In the Clendenin case, the Court of Appeals held that a caregiver's services must go beyond supplying MMJ -- and afterward, Suthers released a statement applauding the decision. He wrote: "I am pleased to see the Court of Appeals' has provided legal support for our case that a caregiver, under Amendment 20, must do more than simply provide marijuana to a patient. I also was pleased to see the assertion in the special concurrence that Amendment 20 'cries out for legislative action.' I could not agree more. I hope the legislature will act and create a regulatory framework that gives substance to the Court of Appeals' findings."
Given such views, it makes sense that Suthers wasn't thrilled with the committee's caregiver definition, which read:
Significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a patient" means assisting a patient with daily activities, including but not limited to transportation or housekeeping or meal preparation or shopping or making any necessary arrangement for access to medical care or services or provision of medical marijuana.
Here's his office's suggested rewrite:
Significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a patient" means, IN ADDITION TO THE ABILITY TO PROVIDE MEDICAL MARIJUANA, REGULARLY assisting a patient with ACTIVITIES OF daily activities LIVING, including but not limited to transportation or housekeeping or meal preparation or shopping or making any necessary arrangement for access to medical care or NON-MEDICAL MARIJUANA services
or provision of medical marijuana. THE ACT OF SUPPLYING MEDICAL MARIJUANA OR MARIJUANA PARAPHERNALIA, BY ITSELF, IS INSUFFICIENT TO CONSTITUTE "SIGNIFICANT RESPONSIBILITY FOR MANAGING THE WELL-BEING OF A PATIENT.
The public has been invited to comment on this proposed change, but because the lingo has received virtually no publicity, most people haven't heard anything about it. And guess when the comment period ends? According to Sensible Colorado's Brian Vicente, a well-known medical marijuana advocate, 5 p.m. today, April 20.
It is simply coincidental that this deadline was set on 4/20, when those who would seem most apt to complain may be distracted by the year's largest marijuana-oriented event?