Medical marijuana advisory committee shuts down, health dept. rejects caregiver definition
Vicente calls the timing "somewhat suspicious. Certainly, the health department has a long history of resorting to any tactic possible to prevent the public from commenting and observing their activities. They've held public hearings with twelve-hours notice and on election day. And now they've said comments will end on 4/20" -- a time that "smells funny," in his opinion.
Regarding the rejection of the advisory committee's caregiver language, Vicente admits that "we were pretty surprised. The advisory committee was comprised of law enforcement and treatment specialists, and in many ways, it seemed to be stacked against patient and caregiver rights. So when they came out with what we thought was a pretty common-sense definition of caregiver, which allowed them to provide medical marijuana to patients and have that be sufficient, we were pleased. And then to have that rejected by the CDPHE -- it was pretty shocking."
He concedes that the committee's recommendation "wasn't binding, but I think all of its other recommendations were adopted by the CDPHE. And one that actually expanded and protected patients rights was rejected."
As for the AG office's opinion, Vicente says "they didn't provide any legal backing for their argument nor publicize their memo. And we feel it's simply political posturing on their part to push their anti-medical marijuana agenda -- the same agenda they've been pushing for ten years."
With that in mind, Vicente encourages people to share their views with the CDPHE by e-mailing the department at cdphe.MMRAdvisoryCommittee@state.co.us prior to 5 p.m. today. He also urges folks to share their views at a yet-to-be-scheduled public hearing of the Board of Health, at which the rule can be formally adopted; it's likely to take place in May.
Until then, Vicente says, "I'd like to stress that the new language is bad for patients. They should have the choice of which caregiver to work with, and some patients do not need supplementary services like housekeeping and so forth. Many patients just want to get medicine from their caregiver, and they should be allowed to do so. I feel like the system has worked for the past eleven years, and there's no compelling need for them to make it more restrictive now."
More from our Marijuana archive: "THC blood test: Pot critic William Breathes nearly 3 times over proposed limit when sober."