Medical marijuana lobbyists out in force during HB 1043 committee hearing (PHOTOS)

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Nancy Spence.
With medical marijuana clean-up bill HB 1043 under scrutiny from U.S. Attorney John Walsh, it's no surprise that the medical marijuana lobbyists were out in force when the measure went before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. Representatives of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group spoke to the committee, as did co-sponsor Senator Pat Steadman, supportive colleague Nancy Spence and unhappy members of law enforcement.

At this writing, the text of HB 1043 doesn't bear any changes from yesterday's efforts. But several tweaks are expected -- including a revamping of the section approving grows of 500 plants or more for infused-product manufacturers. This provision prompted a direct objection from U.S. Attorney Walsh, and according to the Cannabis Therapy Institute's Laura Kriho, who monitored the proceedings, Thomas Raynes, executive director for the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, made specific reference to the federal prosecution threshold of 100 plants.

Deputy Attorney General Michael Dougherty also emphasized that his office was only in limited support of 1043, given that Colorado is "operating in clear violation of federal law," Kriho says.

The heavy MMIG presence didn't cheer Kriho, who feels the organization is more focused on business interests than patients and caregivers -- an allegation MMIG has repeatedly refuted. "Whether or not medical marijuana center applicants in Colorado are part of MMIG or not, they're being represented by them," she maintains, "because they're failing to take part in the political process."

Look below to see photos from yesterday's hearing by Kathleen Chippi of the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project.

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Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition's Joe Beaver testifying.

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MMIG's Josh Stanley and bill supporter Senator Nancy Spence.

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MMIG's Norton Arbelaez, Kara Miller and Josh Stanley.

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Miller, Stanley, Arbelaez and Spence.

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Jill Lamoureux, Josh Stanley, Nancy Spence and the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division's Dan Hartman.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana cultivation no different than other pot grows, says U.S. Attorneys Office."

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11 comments
Boycott Budding Health
Boycott Budding Health

Boycott Budding Health, Josh Stanley, and other MMIG dispensaries. They are out with their lobbyists to ban caregiving and have almost succeeded. Because of 1043, ALL CAREGIVERS will have to register their grow with the STATE!!! They will also have to pass inspection from fire, electrical, etc, thus raising costs and putting most out of business.

patient
patient

No patients testified in support of hb1043, which says it all for me. 5 members of MMIG and 2 members of ACT did support hb1043. Looks like the 'industry' groups are not on the same page as the patients, their customers. The PATIENTS can yank the 'industry' into nothingness. Patients will do whats right and just to protect themselves.

patient
patient

On Monday, May 2, at 2pm, medical cannabis patients Dr. Mollie Fry and her husband, attorney Dale Schafer, will turn themselves in to federal authorities in Sacramento, California to begin serving five year prison terms for cultivating cannabis.

Their family and friends, advocates from Americans for Safe Access, and other supporters will hold a rally and press conference at the federal courthouse in Sacramento beginning at 1pm.

A clemency petition was filed at the end of April on their behalf in the federal Eastern District Court of Sacramento and sent to President Obama in an effort to avoid or shorten their imprisonment.

Dr. Fry and Mr. Schafer were prosecuted in federal court for cultivating cannabis, though they were both qualified patients and never had more than 44 plants. Federal prosecutors successfully argued that they were guilty of felony cultivation and conspiracy that carries five-year mandatory minimum sentences because the number of plants they would have grown over several years added up to more than 100.

Dr. Fry used cannabis to ease the effects of chemotherapy used to treat breast cancer; she had a radical mastectomy in 1997. Her experience led her to start a specialized clinic for medical cannabis patients.

Mr. Schafer, an attorney, used cannabis to manage chronic back pain and symptoms related to his hemophilia. A candidate for district attorney in Eldorado County in 2001 and a contributor to the county's guidelines on cultivation, Schafer also taught cultivation classes for other patients and provided free medicine.

On September 28, 2001, more than 20 state and federal agents raided their home and offices, seizing 34 plants and less than 2 pounds of cannabis. Dr. Fry's private patient records were also seized.

Nearly four years later, in June 2005, Dr Fry and Mr. Schafer were arrested on federal charges of manufacturing and conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana. They were convicted at trial in August 2007 and sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Frank Damrell to 5 years each. They also had their licenses to practice medicine and law revoked.

They lost their appeal in November 2010, and in March Judge Damrell ordered them to surrender on May 2nd.

Robert
Robert

As long as so-called "medical marijuana lobbyists" keep trying to suck up to the General Assembly and cannot muster enough gumption even to oppose bad legislation, their efforts are wasted. HB11-1043 would extend the General Assembly's unconstitutional authority over caregivers and provides that the location of every single plant deemed legal by the State other than patients' own be made known to any law enforcement agency upon request. I testified against this bill, which directly attacks caregivers and patients' access to their medicine. Later I went to a reception for Art Way to celebrate the opening of the Drug Policy Alliance's Denver office. I was the only person in the room to have attended the hearing -- not one of the luminaries representing various MMCs and advocacy groups, including Sensible Colorado, bothered to come!

The Spleen
The Spleen

Josh Stanley is one sleazy douchebag. I am surprised he doesn't leave a slime trail wherever he goes....

Pablo Cerventes
Pablo Cerventes

if current players are crushed by competition, that would be good for patients. When people make a choice based on better product, service, and price, the industry is improved.

Anyone who says otherwise is protecting their business interests, not the patients.

Kathleen Chippi and Laura Kriho keep showing up where we all should be. God Bless them.

Corey Donhaue
Corey Donhaue

Watching MMIG and the legislatures advocate for another year for the moratorium was pretty funny. In this time of high unemployment you would think putting people back to work would be a priority. I guess protecting the profits of its members in more important for MMIG then helping Colorado's medical marijuana industry and putting Coloradans back to work.

Also why the hell was the Colorado Press and Broadcaster Associations lobbying in support of this bill? That does not sound like a faithful defender of the public's intrust. http://www.coloradocapitolwatc...ROMBERG, GREG HB-1043 02/2011 Supporting COLO PRESS ASSN

ROMBERG, GREG HB-1043 02/2011 Supporting COLORADO BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION

ROMBERG, GREG HB-1043 01/2011 Supporting COLO PRESS ASSN

Conner C
Conner C

I'm not so sure that any jobs would be created by getting rid of the moratorium. This business is so thick with competition that it would be doubtful that any more dispensaries would be able to survive, especially when the ones already with doors open are struggling to stay afloat.

Oo
Oo

It only takes a few plants to put an extra trimmer to work

Sam S
Sam S

There's room for improvement in the product quality on the shelves of MOST dispensaries, and the amount of excellent work being produced by private caregivers shows us again why some shops shouldn't be in business. The competition that exists now is artificial and based purely on advertising and access, not real medicine. The end of the moratorium would allow REAL competition, and the death of shitty herb and ignorant dispensary owners/tenders who were at the "right place at the right time."

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