Medical marijuana dispensary inspections -- and what about those discontinued DVRs?

Categories: Marijuana

security cameras.jpg
State regulations of the medical marijuana industry went into effect on July 1 -- and that includes inspections of dispensaries by the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division. But how does the process work? We talked with a security pro who sat in on an inspection that was made for TV.

Char (first name only, please) is the owner of SecureCam, which specializes in security systems. To her knowledge, her business is the only one of its type to be recognized by MMED as a licensed vendor -- an expensive process, she concedes, but an important one, since workers must have MMED approval before they can enter secure areas of dispensaries. "After July 1, anybody who steps foot in there has to be a registered and licensed vendor, including plumbers, drywall hangers -- anyone," she says.

In recent weeks, Char received a call from a dispensary owner who had been contacted about an inspection at which a TV crew from 7News would be tagging along -- and he asked if she could be there, too, in case any questions came up about the security system. Since that's part of her service, she gladly agreed, showing up the next day at 11 a.m. for what had been scheduled as an 11:30 a.m. arrival -- and MMED inspectors, led by top cop Marco Vasquez were already on hand, along with the 7News staffers.

Thumbnail image for marco vasquez.jpg
A 2001 file photo of Marco Vasquez.
That's the first thing staffers should know about inspections, Char notes: "They show up early."

Shortly thereafter, Vasquez and his associates went over what Char calls "a specific, printed-out checklist." A copy of the list wasn't left with the owner, but MMED has provided centers with a document pointing out general areas to be examined; it's on view below.

Going over all the items on the list was time-consuming. Even though the center is quite small, and was in compliance across the board with only some tiny technical matters, the process took around an hour and a half, by Char's estimate. During the span, she asked MMED officers if the inspectors there would be permanently assigned to oversee the center and was told no. "That kind of surprised me," she concedes. "I really think to make everything consistent, there should be a consistent contact person, so they know the owner and the facility."

As for how often inspections will take place, Char says, "they didn't give us an exact deadline. We're kind of thinking they may show up once a year, but we just don't know."

These aren't the only MMED mysteries. According to Char, the division's regulations mandate general information about cameras, including angles, locations, which parts of a facility must be covered, and other details. "But they were very specific about the DVRs they're supposed to have -- and some of them are already being discontinued by the manufacturer," she says

In other words, some expensive machines just installed by licensed centers may already be obsolete.

She's also frustrated that MMED has yet to assemble a list of vendors licensed to operate in medical marijuana centers. "It costs the vendors money to do this -- $250 for vendor applications, and more for each key employee and support employee. But because MMED doesn't have a list, customers will have to go through every company in the phone book before they can find us." One MMED rep suggested that some companies might balk at being included on such a list, but she doesn't buy the argument: "Who wouldn't want to be on it after spending all that money?"

At this writing, the 7News piece about the inspection does not appear to have aired; at least, there's nothing on the station's website that resembles it. In the meantime, look below to see the aforementioned document about the focus of MMED inspections.

A. Security Requirement... 12 x12 signs Employees licensed Monitored Closed Circuit Security Alarm System. Commercial Grade Locks Video Surveillance system List of Licensed employees Clear View of POS & Patron

B. Infused Products
Employees conform to hygenic practices
prep areas, work stations kept clean
cleansers, santizers, pesticides, clearly labeled

C. Location
Diagram of Licensed Area * see classy-fieds if you need help with this.
Approved changes to space
approved change of trade name or address
advertisement consistant w local laws, not misleading/false

D. Storage & Transportation
storage warehouse permit (most of you wont need this)
Products packed weighed inventoried on video prior to transport
Transporter must be MMED licensed* and have Manifests... *note this does NOT include Kangaroo etc...
Indication of best Route to destination

E. Product labeling
products labeled and identified
Edibles display state required warning label.
Conform to banned chems & containers.

F. Waste Disposal
Waste is stored & secured
Waste rendered unusable, grind w non-consumable solid waste
DIsposed of as solid waste at solid waste site and disposal facility.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana patient-fees comment period extended due to Health Dept. snafu."

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My Voice Nation Help

There are many things in this article that should make one angry but it did remind me of one other very important fact that made me smile: Chris Romer is NOT the mayor of Denver.


Why are they inspecting legal Cannabis at dispensarys instead of chasing down all the illegal drugs the Fed's are letting into this country according to this press release ? drugs are bad for us why is our Government opening the borders to it and putting it in our hands ?

Yes Fuck Char
Yes Fuck Char

Well boys and girls that was not too hard.

registrant-firstname:            Charleneregistrant-lastname:             Price-Wollinregistrant-street1:              2681 S Grapevine Rdregistrant-pcode:                80453registrant-state:                COregistrant-city:                 Idledaleregistrant-ccode:                USregistrant-phone:                +1.7708911946registrant-email:                

Fuck Char
Fuck Char

I want to know who this Char is.  If we all get our information handed over with a bow on it why can't we know who is selling the cameras to film us? 

Brandon S.
Brandon S.

The police inspections have begun! And Officer Vasquez is clearly the man for the job. Can we nominate him as pot clown of the week?

A number of things are apparent from this article:

1) This MMC has given their consent to be searched whenever, however and whyever the MMED cops want. No warrant needed, ever. Char is overly optimistic that they are only going to be in the MMC once per year. Remember, this is a seed-to-sale tracking system that they are trying to implement. That means they have to keep track of your meds every step of the way. This equates to more like weekly visits, rather than yearly. Did the MMC have their RFID tags on all their plants? This is going to make the cops' job so much easier, they can't wait.

2) The MMED cops brought news cameras with them. How strange is this? Number one concern is patient privacy. Were there patients in the MMC when the cops showed up with news cameras? They showed up early afterall, not at the time they said they would, so any patient waiting would be caught up in this inspection and "news story."

3) Remember, patients surrender all their mmj constitutional rights, and 4th and 5th amendment rights, once they walk into an MMC. The video feeds are on direct line to the MMED cops HQ, to be shared directly with the DEA on request. This implicates all patients on video violating federal law. Do these MMCs really not have a problem with that? How about their employees, getting paid $10/hr to break federal law? All these MMCs are UNLICENSED so far, cuz the DOR pot clowns have not seen it fit to grant one MMC license yet, after over a year and a $10 million budget. So all these MMC-applicants are really potentially criminal enterprises, currently under investigation by the MMED pot cops. Yet all their patients are required to give up their confidentiality to an unlicensed mj. provider, and all their employees are subjecting themselves to criminal background investigations just to work for $10 at an unlicensed MMC in violation of federal law.

4) Wouldn't it be cool to have a seat in the MMED video surveillance room, watching all these grows, ready to swoop in at harvest time and confiscate anything over two ounces per plant?

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Yea, have fun with this if you own a dispensary.  What about contamination?  After 7News and the inspectors come in, do they certify that their clothes, shoes, and person are clean and pest free?  Jumping from garden to garden is a sure fire way to destroy gardens via contamination.

Inspector Marco should not be allowed near any plants unless he can guarantee he is free of mold and pests from the last garden inspected.

You people are nuts for letting 7 News and the pot clowns in, look what happened to OG ganja man Chris Bartkowitz!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

It is hardly a surprise that inspectors are not assigned to MMCs long-term -- they don't want them becoming too friendly with the business they're supposed to regulating.  Come to think of it, better send one inspector and one watcher, and change both of them after one inspection.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Right -- we can breathe a sigh of relief that we elected a guy who blames cannabis for his brother's death and continues to describe it as a "gateway drug" instead.

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

Hey, good job Yes Fuck Char! :) Just like Senator Boyd if we get no privacy then why should they be afforded privacy?  Good job!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Yes, it's time for thinking patients to  re-examine the tradeoffs between convenience and security, and to consider the abject prostration of caregivers who, under our Constitution are supposed to be those who supply cannabis as medicine to patients -- virtually the entire General Assembly, Judge Loeb, the CDPHE, the BOH, the DOR, and police, judges, and officials across the State are in direct defiance of Article XVIII, Section 14 of Colorado's Constitution!

Patients:  (re)establish confidential relationships with caregivers, and do not list them on State forms.

Robert ChaseColorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers(720) 213-6497

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Please contact me, I like your idea to nominate Vasquez as pot clown of the week!  You can write this weeks blog on if you like!  We specialize in getting you your 420 and keeping the clowns out of our dope biz! Let's call out this Vasquez narc ass douche and put the little rat in his place!


yeah.... cuz we have a choice.

Auditors with Guns, Oh my
Auditors with Guns, Oh my

Not true, Robert. Don't you remember when Pot Clown #1 (Senator Chris Romer) first told everyone that they were going to have "Auditors with Guns" policing dispensaries. He promised that your auditor with a gun would become your "best friend". Watch Generation Fucked video of this historic speech:

Basic Good Cop/Bad Cop strategy and LEO lies 101: "We'll be your best friend...No we won't... You'll never know which of us is going to show up... Could be the bad cop next time."

Poor MMC applicants --- they have their asses in a vice from the DOR, too afraid to buck the system lest it jeopardize their applications.

Any other self-respecting industry would be SUING THE PANTS OFF the DOR, instead our wonderful mmj industry in Colorado just bends over and asks for more.

Who are the real pot clowns?


@google-12d4470d9f4756e3914d57033c0e2f05:disqus You are the most boorish person I've seen in a long time. Are you living of of disability checks? How are you able to sit around on a computer all day long with no apparent means of support?

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

What is not true?

Romer did indeed say that, but I hardly think that that was much of a reason to have credited it.  There's nothing in HB10-1284 or HB11-1043 about this, but it is commonsensical.

I have the peculiar feeling that you find my post insufficiently negative.

Of course MMCs should join the PCRLP's suit -- we know however that some dispensary owner(s) actually perceive caregiving to be a possible competitive threat (as opposed to hope to return to caregiving), crazy though that is.  Cannabis-businesses can continue to jump through the DOR's hoops (or try anyway) and still help to defend the rights of patients -- if the courts re-affirm caregiving as the constitutional prerogative of caregivers, we can reasonably hope to abolish the MMED.

George S. Lake
George S. Lake

Nice video. I remember this MMBA meeting. It's hard to hear all the words, but Romer does say the auditor is going to be at your dispensary or grow house "every 5 to 7 days" AND "he's gonna come in on harvest day" and "forcibly destroy the amount of medical marijuana that is not allocated to the patient."

Romer knew what these pot clowns were up to before he even sponsored HB1284. This was his way of breaking the news to the "industry" gently, but no one listened. No we've got these random inspections, counting, weighing, tracking every gram of pot from "Seed to Sale" (to jail, presumably)

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

We've gone from "Romer says ..." to "Romer said ...", but real progress will have been achieved when no one is inclined to utter such phrases.

You are going even further down this road of crediting Romer (?!?) -- I do not believe he had any special prescience about the DOR/MMED; merely an acquaintance with the workings of bureaucracy.  If by "we" you mean the people in the industry -- OK, but we, the opponents of HB10-1284 were listening -- and screaming in justifiable outrage.

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