Medical marijuana: Is health board ready to pass THC driving reg like one that died in legislature?

marijuana plants in pots cropped.JPG
At 9 a.m., the Board of Health is scheduled to consider a series of new rules pertaining to medical marijuana patients and caregivers -- and the Cannabis Therapy Institute's Laura Kriho has objections to a lot of them. She's particularly incensed by potential changes in the definition of caregiver and what she sees as a stealth attempt on the part of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to create a THC driving limit of the sort rejected by the state legislature.

Although few MMJ advocates are big fans of the health board, critics have been especially distressed by some of its actions this year. In February, for instance, the CDPHE's medical marijuana advisory committee recommended what member and Boulder County Caregivers owner Jill Lamoureux regarded as positive changes for caregivers -- adding education and consultation on medical-marijuana use to the current definition and broadening the waiver process, among other tweaks. But the CDPHE rejected the new caregiver definition at the advice of the Colorado Attorney General's office, and the comment period on a new version including the phrase "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'" ended on 4/20.

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Laura Kriho.
But while this may be the headline item, Kriho believes plenty of other issues should also raise alarm. For instance, she says, "the CDPHE thinks it can create a new crime under Colorado law -- a medical marijuana DUI, which doesn't have any penalties laid out anywhere in the Colorado revised statute. Their authority to do this is totally unclear, but it looks suspiciously like a backdoor attempt to criminalize driving under the influence of medical marijuana."

As Kriho points out, a bill to do just that, by establishing a 5 nanogram per milliliter of blood intoxication standard, died in the last legislative session. One factor: a test showing that Westword medical marijuana reviewer William Breathes was nearly triple the proposed limit when sober.

In addition, Kriho is concerned about language stating that patients and caregivers shall not undertake any task while under the influence of medical marijuana that would constitute negligence. She sees the language as exceedingly vague and well beyond the scope of what the CDPHE is charged to do in this area.

"They were given a very specific mandate in the constitution -- to create a confidential registry of patients, period," she allows. "They weren't given the authority to do any of this other stuff by the constitution or the general assembly."

Nonetheless, the board is moving forward with loads of regulations, including a mandate stating that patients can only change caregivers once per month -- another bizarre dictate, in Kriho's mind. She lays out her objections to this and other rules in a sample e-mail on view below.

And if the board ignores advocates planning to be at this morning's meeting and okays the new regs? Kriho says they'll go into effect on July 1 after being blessed by the attorney general, John Suthers -- who she's certain has already signed off on them. After that, only legal action can stop them.

"CannabisLawsuits.com, baby," she says, referring to fellow advocate Kathleen Chippi's effort to challenge the state's medical marijuana law in court. "These things have really been shoved down people's throats will very little notice or rational basis to do it. We need to slow them down with a lawsuit and have a court decide the constitutionality of them."

Page down to read the aforementioned sample e-mail, which Kriho encourages folks to send to cdphe.edobohcomments_patientrules@state.co.us.

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Colorado Mmj Patient
Colorado Mmj Patient

Once again the State has overstepped its boundaries in its assault on medical marijuana patients and caregivers.  Between HB 1043 and the CDPHE, the State is forcing caregivers AND patients to the black market in their search for medicine.  What a shame.  

I was visiting an MMC the other day, and I spoke to an owner about the death of caregivers.  She said she was happy that caregivers were going to drop like flies.  I looked her square in the eyes and told her that they are only here because of caregivers, then I left.  

Groups like the Medical Marijuana Industry Group(MMIG), who have lobbied against caregivers all along since their days as the failed group CMMR, should be ashamed of themselves.  

AncientMedicine
AncientMedicine

So, these wonderful new regulations, which are being touted as a model for other states that permit the medicinal use of cannabis -- to help "legitimize and regulate the industry" and to "protect patients" -- are, in reality:

1. Created to shut most of the dispensaries down ("Death by a Thousand Cuts from a Thousand Forms") -- I don't think most dispensary owners realize this means them, most likely.

2. Running most of the caregivers out of the business of helping meet patient demand and providing patient access and options.

3. Trying to deprive medical cannabis patients and caregivers of the right to drive a vehicle.

This constitutional meddling needs to be squashed, once and for all; and the Will of the Coloradoans needs to respected and honored.

And our politicians need to return to their jobs and stop wasting our precious money with all their moral grandstanding and scientific idiocy. If our reps are this obsessed with an ancient healing plant -- that has never killed a single soul from toxicity in thousands of years -- how can they protect us from real threats or serve us with any level of competency?

Guest
Guest

In the long run, this will help the cause, as the more leo and the state overstep their authority, the easier it will be for the inevitable lawsuits to succeed in overturning the excesses of their police state. I do have faith in the courts.

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

Passed both the patients and caregivers rules the only people speaking in favor of these rules were law enforcement.  So this is the people of Colorado vs. the state of Colorado no if only law enforcement supports and the people reject these rules.

Jim P.
Jim P.

Does that include driving restrictions?  If so, what sort of parameters were proposed?

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

No parameters were proposed. Very little language was adjusted but it is all un constitutional and once we start from there we really don't need to concern ourselves of the parameters that they propose, like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. 

Jim P.
Jim P.

Agreed.  Thanks for the info.

Jake Browne
Jake Browne

We lost.

Jim P.
Jim P.

I heard the Caregiver rules were approved but I haven't heard anything about the patient (driving etc.) rules yet.  Are you at the hearing?

moldy
moldy

They don't test percoset or vicadin patients so until they come up with rules for them they can just fuck off. Even drunks get a little wiggle room if they're under ,08 BAC. Test for impairment or is that too fair? They just can't leave the MMJ patients alone. Where's all the bodies? Where are all the injuries and traffic deaths?

PabloKOh
PabloKOh

The Colorado government has taken its authority too far and seems to want to continue punishing medical marijuana patients.  It is a sad day when I have changed my mind about the usefulness of the medical marijuana laws.  I now believe full cannabis legalization is the only way patients can be protected from this government at this point. 

Guest
Guest

Fuck the government, support the black market.

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