Medical marijuana: Board of Health passes new driving rules, caregiver language (PHOTOS)
Cannabis Therapy Institute's Laura Kriho raised concern about new regulations to be enacted by the Board of Health at a meeting yesterday. And following the marathon session, she's still worried, especially about what she sees as "a backdoor method to create a new crime: DUI-MM" -- driving under the influence of medical marijuana.
Not that board members discussed this language, which appears to echo a bill to set a THC driving limit of 5 nanogram per milliliter of blood. The bill died in the state legislature this past session following news that Westword medical marijuana critic William Breathes tested at nearly triple the proposed limit when sober.
Instead, yesterday's get-together, which lasted from 9 a.m. until mid afternoon, focused on a new requirement for caregivers to do something more than simply provide medical marijuana -- a pet issue of Colorado Attorney General John Suthers. Earlier this year, his office rejected recommended tweaks by the now-disbanded medical marijuana advisory committee that omitted this dictate.
According to Kriho, the day was filled with testimony from law enforcement figures, including one who called the new definition the "lynchpin" of efforts to bust individuals growing illegally by posing as caregivers.
Courtesy of Cannabis Therapy Institute Ron Hyman, administrator of the CDPHE Medical Marijuana Patient Registry, and Ann Hause, the Office of Legal and Regulatory Affairs director.
"The general attitude of the board was to do everything the police asked and nothing the patients wanted," she maintains. "One of the board members asked, 'If this is really going to be so important to law enforcement, how are you going to find out if the caregiver is doing more than just providing marijuana?' And the police said, 'We'll have to interview them, talk to the patients and the caregiver' -- which is why, when it was my turn to testify, I said, 'I can't believe this is the board of health. It seems more like the Spanish Inquisition -- inviting law enforcement into a caregiver's house to ask how many times they wiped a patient's ass that day.
"The whole point of Amendment 20," which legalized medical marijuana in Colorado, "was to get police out of this, so caregivers and patients could use marijuana for medical purposes without fear of the police. And now they're inserting the police into the middle of the process."
Kriho also mentioned the driving issue, as well as other points she raised in a sample e-mail on view below. In response, she says the board gave her "blank stares." In addition, two advocates were ejected -- Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers' Robert Chase, who's been booted from more than his share of public meetings, and another patient. And many of those who stuck around were dejected. "We had multiple people crying because of the board's attitude," Kriho allows.
The Denver Post quoted board president Laura Davis arguing that the caregiver change isn't as big a deal as advocates believe. But for Kriho, there are more problems lurking in the shadows.
Courtesy of Cannabis Therapy Institute The board and the attendees.
Page down to see more photos courtesy of the Cannabis Therapy Institute, as well as the aforementioned e-mail objecting to other elements passed by the Board of Health yesterday.