Medical marijuana patient numbers in Colorado decline for fifth month in a row

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For the fifth month in a row, thousands of patients have dropped off the Colorado medical marijuana registry. From October to November 2011, the registry lost more than 8,000 patients, according to statistics released yesterday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The number of patients on the registry is now roughly 48,000 lower than its peak enrollment of 128,698 in June 2011. The decline to 80,558 patients shows that more than half of the 161,483 patients who have registered with the program since 2001 have not renewed their cards.

The majority of patients (46,723 or 58 percent) still designate someone as their primary caregiver, although the total number of caregivers seems to have shrunk as well from October to November. Assuming that there is one caregiver for every five of those 46,723 patients means there are at least 9,334 caregivers are currently active.

Other demographic statistics stayed generally the same. Most patients live in the metro area, the average age of the patient registry is 42 and more than 30 percent are women. These states belie the stereotype of twenty-something dudes looking to get stoned that are frequently cited by critics.

Some of the decline can be attributed to patients denied renewal applications for seeing physician assistants instead of doctors. But according to Medical Marijuana Assistance Program of America estimates, this number represents fewer than 500 patients.

Other theories? Some patients may have waited to renew until the registry fee dropped to $35 on January 1, and others may have found cheaper options by either growing their own or turning to the black market.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana at the Crossroads: Event asks if MMJ lawyers are breaking oath" and "Operation Sweet Leaf raids boost marijuana regulation, says Mason Tvert."

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Guest
Guest

You have people like me, who are on SSI and scrape just to get by monthly, and answered ads on Craigslist offering free doctor evaluation and they paid for your license. All we had to pay for was the notary. So I got a free red card. I used it maybe five times. However now it is expired and to get it going again will take about 1/7 of my monthly check. As much as I loved going in the dispensarys and sniffing the different buds, I can just barely allocate any money for weed, much less to get legal again.

MMJ Soccer mom
MMJ Soccer mom

AG John Suthers wants to take your kids DO NOT REGISTER with the sate if you have kids!!!!

Reality Check
Reality Check

You do not legally need a CDPHE red card to raise an affirmative defense only a Dr's recommendation. Most MMCs are growing mold infested herb and the rest lobbied to remove caregiver rights.

Colorado Mmj Patient
Colorado Mmj Patient

MMIG and Josh Stanley lobbied against caregivers directly. While many of the other MMCs did not directly lobby, they didn't mind having the law go through. 

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Right--Because of the Beinor-V-ICAO Appeals Court ruling--mmj USE is still illegal and possession by qualifying patients is the ONLY non criminal act.....so says the second highest court in Colorado. 

The red card doesn't save you from losing your job over a hot piss test from and employer, nor will it get you an unemployment check from the state for being fired over still "illegal" drug USE, it doesn't keep your kids in your custody, it does keep you in federal housing, it doesn't save your student loan.

I don't have much faith in computer data bases staying private no matter what the constitution says--

I video tapped the DoR "integration" of the CDPHE registry meeting where the picture model was posted on the wall--the DoR or the CDPHE was in the center and their were 4 agencies all attached to that--the DMV, the Dept of Labor and Employment, The CDPHE the DoR and law enforcement. 

The only thing a red card might bring is ....how about ruining your life? how?  By taking away your ability to drive?  work?  feed your family?  have children in your custody?  go to college.  Your just putting your name on a list for future busts....they cherry pick who and when. 

Twitterbitch
Twitterbitch

uhhh this is probably due to the fact that the State has been sitting on thousands of apps because they were investigating doctors.

tgtree88
tgtree88

We have recently begun to accept new members for 2011-2012 and walk-ins are always welcome. We have lowered our pricing and now offer a 10% discount for Veterans & Students (with valid ID) and HIV & Cancer patients.(All our TOP SHELF 1/8’s are capped at $40).  Since opening our doors in 2009 our Denver dispensary has stood by our product and offered a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. http://www.tgtree.com/

Publius Ceasar
Publius Ceasar

The reason I didn't renew is because of the intrusiveness of the system. Tracking how much I buy, taking my picture, etc. I'm legal with just a doctors recommendation, why should I register?

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Publius Caesar your comment was favored and illustrates the importance that patients don't want to register because of the invasion of privacy.  I liked your comment and used it to illustrate a point in a recent article on the demise of the patient registry here:

http://highcountrycaregiver.co...

Jaded
Jaded

For those not getting red cards, have fun defending yourself in court. You will probably have to prove medical necessity in court which will be much harder to do and much more expensive than simply obtaining a red card. Good riddance to those not registering, your life, your problem. Perhaps some integrity will be restored in the registry now that the recreational users are dropping out. Walsh and suthers must be proud so many people are giving up their right to a red card. +1 for the prohibitionists

Colorado Mmj Patient
Colorado Mmj Patient

The doctor "recommendation" shows the medical necessity AND offers the affirmative defense.  In my case, and among my "senior" friends, we find it more convenient to just go shopping than to ask a friend to get a bag - as we did in the past.  I probably would NOT have renewed my card if I didn't need one for MMC access (magazine biz).  A couple of scenarios: 5 "youngsters" - only one renews the card and shops for all.  For many others the novelty has worn off.  I've also talked to many patients who have privacy concerns.  I do not think for one minute that any govt agency will protect my privacy from any other. 

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

You really have no idea what you're yammering about, do you stoner?

Jaded
Jaded

I take a dump and you eat it up donk. LOL. Enjoy the feast.

Muzzylu
Muzzylu

It seems that most of these medical marijuana patients aren't tweekers. They need medical help that marijuana supplies. Great e-book on medical marijuana: MARIJUANA - Guide to Buying, Growing, Harvesting, and Making Medical Marijuana Oil and Delicious Candies to Treat Pain and Ailments by Mary Bendis, Second Edition. This book has great recipes for easy marijuana oil, delicious Cannabis Chocolates, and tasty Dragon Teeth Mints. 

goo.gl/iYjPn  goo.gl/Jfs61

Copatient
Copatient

It is time to make the voice of Colorado heard by the feds and state. A permit will be pulled for a  protest and or rally. Info will be posted for all to attend. We should be allowed to ship via USPS to other legal states. USPS wants money, then charge a extra a cannabis shipping fee or tax. IRS must make it so we can pay our additional income tax on cannabis with out fear.When in out history has IRS, USPS, and other local and state agencies work together to bust non violent citizens? This must end. Other state are watching us and we must do something. MMED must go. Stop using my tax money on cannabis raids in Colorado. PERIOD.

Lori Shiner
Lori Shiner

I am sure the drop in cards has a lot to do with the EVIL doctors like Dr. Frank Wright that have screwed over many patients and now the patients are being punished more then the damn doctors that were illegally filling out the paperwork!!!!

Skyhigh413
Skyhigh413

I used to have a prescrip in colorado. I chose not to renew mine cause I feel the registry cant get their shit together. I was medical for a year, paid my fee, and never received proper documentation. Come to find out the whole year I thought I was covered, they never processed my papers.

Monkey
Monkey

http://www.9news.com/news/loca...2749 marijuana plants and more than 147 pounds of dried herb plus 40 guns seized this week, maybe these are the ones who thought registering with the CDPHE is scary. 

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

So many guns seized.  I think every dispensary / grow house should be required to have this many guns https://twitter.com/#!/jacelar...

Monkey
Monkey

Ha Ha. Centers and grows must now have at least 4 cameras, 3 fire extinguishers and 2 fire arms. I like it, make the people feel safe.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"The single organization was growing marijuana and shipping it to California, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas, according to investigators."

Yeah ... lack of registration with CDPHE was the problem ..

.. you betcha !!

Monkey
Monkey

From the denver post:Officials stressed that medical marijuana operations played little or no role in the raids. In fact, only one of the grow houses produced two medical marijuana licenses for two people and they had 25 plants.Those plants were not seized and no arrests were made in that particular house, officials said.http://www.denverpost.com/dnc/ci_1983... to help someone!

Guest
Guest

If you vote for Obama, expect to be a criminal, even with a med card. Obama is the one who singed the blood draw traffic stop laws, and is busy busting any business that provides medical pot in a way that his cartel funders do not like. I thought Hope and Change was all about legalizing pot and the racist war on drugs?

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

-- inaccurate, but I for one am not voting for him again.

Guest
Guest

How is that inaccurate? He did sign the blood draw bill, he is hostile and harsh on medical pot shops, and he led on like he was mr legalization, and everyone who reads this remembers that.

Obama, who has no problem shipping weapons to the sanolia cartel, ensures their monopoly on the drug trade. It is business, nothing personal, as Obama was an avid pot smoker.

Ron Paul 2012

Guest
Guest

Really, in socialism's 200 year history, when and where has it worked, where is the big line to move into this Utopia? Now what type of Socialism is the best Utopia, Marxist Leninist Socialism, or Democratic Socialism, and who is the best Mastermind to design, impose, implement, and micromanage the population in this Utopian fantasy?

Guest
Guest

Thank you, use those skills wisely, expose the communists in media, government, union leadership, and higher education. The Red dream is still alive and Obama is its chairman, Occupy is his army.

Guest
Guest

Thank you, use those skills wisely, expose the communists in media, government, union leadership, and higher education. The Red dream is still alive and Obama is its chairman, Occupy is his army.

Mark Griggs
Mark Griggs

I'm glad to see another Ron Paul supporter.  I recently returned from Afghanistan and still can't believe how so many people are willing to shake our hands in the airport only to turn around and applaud an idiot like Newt Gingrich for wanting to use us to invade Iran!  Or see these same people support Romney/Obama, the same who support/passed NDAA.  Now we have to worry about the possibility of treating American civilians the same way we treated combatants overseas..  I'm blown away.  My contract is nearly up and my next state of residency will be Colorado.  I'll miss Texas, but I'll happily bring my experience as an intelligence asset to a state that deserves it.  -2x OEF Army Intelligence Veteran for Dr Ron Paul (and for Colorado).

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

The Feds are not "busy busting any business that provides medical pot in a way that his cartel funders do not like"; they are threatening dispensaries within 1000' of schools, parks, and libraries, and if you are going to make such a claim about "cartel funders", you really should provide some specifics.  I believe that Obama is more concerned about the prohibitionist establishment in this country and within the Federal government -- although it is certainly true that the prohibitionists' agenda benefits the cartels, they don't have to pay anything for those benefits.  I am unaware of the bill to which you refer -- please provide a reference.  I tend to focus on State law rather than Federal.  We defeated a measure here that would have provided for the testing of blood for THC last year (HB11-1261), but it is coming up again. 

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

The Republican Party thanks you ...

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

I have been voting for the lesser of two evils my entire political life, and evil is what we've got.  The Collaborationist Party is not good for this country, although the President gave an excellent State of the Union speech.

Longdoggie
Longdoggie

I can say that from my experience, CDPHE tends to find some reason to send paperwork back at least once, and at some point they can reject it if the signature date is too old - never mind if it's their fault.  Regardless, they always take weeks to process.  Some people probably just give up due to the hassle.  I started the renewal process in the fall and I'm still waiting for my new card.  Now that there's no legal retail in many cities, what's the point of going through all that trouble if you already have a caregiver - why bother if they're going to make it so difficult?  I'd like to know how many applications are backlogged at any given time.  If they were in the tens of thousands I wouldn't be all the surprised.  That would pretty much explain everything.

Why are journalists so lazy these days anyway?  Don't just speculate and ask questions, go investigate and write a real story.  Jeez.

Monkey
Monkey

Sent to me on 01-23-2012 from the CDPHEWe are opening mail received on 12/14/11 today.We are printing cards for applications received on 12/5/11 today.We appreciate your patience.  

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Possession of 2 (two) ounces or less is decriminalized under Colorado law -- even for recreational use.

No "medical" BS needed.

Jaded
Jaded

Great legal advice from a black market drug dealer. Do tell more

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Perhaps you'd prefer to get your sage advice from a notorious republican pot lawyer with multiple criminal convictions on his record, including arrests for sexual assault and firearms crimes?

Stay ignorant ... it's what you do best.

Jenny
Jenny

Here's my fear...that I get pulled over for something minor like having a tail light out.  Then the cop runs my driver's license and because registry information is available to the cop, he finds out that I am a registered patient with the state.  That gives him probable cause to think I may be driving under the influence and forces me do a blood draw.  Since I medicated the night before, it comes back as positive for THC and then I am convicted of driving under the influence and all those bad things happen.  If I'm not in the registry, then my situation stays where it belongs, between my doctor and me!

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Interesting post, Jenny. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Your scenario is entirely possible, but the Constitution does require that the only time an officer may check whether a patient is on the register is when he or she has reasonable suspicion that that patient is violating the cannabis-laws -- "No person shall be permitted to gain access to any iformation about patients in the state health agency's confidential registry, or any information otherwise maintained by the state health agency about physicians and primary care-givers, except for authorized employees of the state health agency in the course of their official duties and authorized employees of state or local law enforcement agencies which have stopped or arrested a person who claims to be engaged in the medical use of marijuana".  An officer who decides to go on a fishing expedition into the register is violating the law.

Pete
Pete

What about the DOR database for caregivers.  Do you think this is afforded the same level of protection as the CDPHE database?  As 1284 is written, I don't see anything that protects the privacy of this DOR database.  Am I missing something?

Colorado Mmj Patient
Colorado Mmj Patient

LOL. The DOR database is NOT protected at all. Why a caregiver would register is beyond me. You are playing their game; just ask the MMCs how they like the regulatory scheme. 

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

"An officer who decides to go on a fishing expedition into the register is violating the law."  Correct, but sure doesn't make me feel any better.  Cops, especially narcs, violate the law all the time.  As we've seen with the high profile brutality cases in Denver, they really have nothing to fear when they break the law.  Considering that "reasonable suspicion" can be as ambiguous as "I smelled marijuana" it is not are to imagine certain cops finding lots of reasonable suspicion...

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Riiight ... because cops are always held to task for their abuses ... such as when they kill unarmed innocent civilians ...

LOL!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

The point is that there is a record, and officers cannot abuse the system of checking patients' status with impunity.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Yet another reason to BOYCOTT the unnecessary and optional CDPHE registry.

A Physician's referral alone, without registration, is the only thing needed to be covered and protected of the rights conveyed by Amendment 20. 

Registration is entirely optional, and conveys no more rights than having the Physician's referral alone.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Registration is entirely optional, but it confers exception from the State's cannabis-laws insofar as a patient is engaged in the medical use of cannabis.  A doctor's recommendation does not; it merely allows patients an affirmative defense.  You know this -- why are you muddying the waters?

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"... deemed to have ESTABLISHED an affirmative defense" = "... exception [sic] from the state's criminal laws "

In-eloquently scribed by the stoned authors of Amendment 20 ...

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You have succeeded in convincing me that your reading comprehension is not up to snuff -- better bear down if you are planning to practice law!

Do you really not see that the "exception from the state's criminal laws" is contingent upon having a red card?

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

... a distinction without a difference ...

There is no legal difference, Amendment 20 establishes an "affirmative defense" to extant state criminal marijuana laws for those who possess a valid physician recommendation.

Registration of that physician recommendation with CDPHE confers NO ADDITIONAL rights or protections under Amendment 20.

NONE!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You should follow your own advice -- note the distinction between the affirmative defense ((2) (a) below) and an exception from the State's criminal laws (I used the word "exemption"; an inconsequential substitution -- see ((2) (b) below):

Constitution of Colorado, Article XVIII, Section 14:

(2) (a) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (5), (6), and (8) of this section, a patient or primary care-giver charged with a violation of the state's criminal laws related to the patient's medical use of marijuana will be deemed to have established an affirmative defense to such allegation where:

(I) The patient was previously diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition;

(II) The patient was advised by his or her physician, in the context of a bona fide physician-patient relationship, that the patient might benefit from the medical use of marijuana in connection with a debilitating medical condition...(b) Effective June 1, 2001, it shall be an exception from the state's criminal laws for any patient or primary care-giver in lawful possession of a registry identification card to engage or assist in the medical use of marijuana ..."

The precise meaning of this distinction is open to debate, but that there is a distinction is not.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

You are WRONG! ... as is anyone who makes such a legally unfounded claim.

READ Amendment 20, it isn't that long or complex -- a mere 2 pages.

It is the Physician's referral that conveys ALL the protections of Amendment 20, not the optional registration of that referral which imparts no additional protections under the provisions of Amendment 20.

The "affirmative defense" is available and applicable to anyone who exceeds the stated 6 plant or 2 oz. quantities and instead asserts a "medical necessity" for the excess plant count or weight.

One again for the dope addled readers -- There is NO ADDITIONAL benefit conferred by Amendment 20 for those who decide to optionally register their Physician referral with the CDPHE.

None whatsoever.

Monkey
Monkey

Learn the law, don't let idiots scare you. Confidential means just that, police cannot access the registry through the DMV. My card works great and you can be caregiver for many more than 5 patients, I have many more than 5 waivers approved already. If you concern yourself with things that might happen you would never leave your house, flash a bunch of paperwork to cops and they laugh and take your stuff, flash actual cards with your name on them and they might just move on and tell you to have a nice day like they have with me.

Paul Saurini
Paul Saurini

Generally I have always felt that whether or not I am supposed to have privacy, I don't have faith in government that I would.  I prefer to doubt government rather than trust them.  Yes, it's not far fetched to think cops would somehow have access to the information.  You can blah about the law all you want, but I have seen police get away with being above the law a million times.  They'll discover you're in the registry and charge you even if it's illegal, and then you'll have the big problem of a criminal dui to deal with anyway.  Conventional Obama will not get my vote, nor will any of the sold out ugly americans who might be running against him.  I'd CONSIDER voting for Ron Paul, but the mainstream status quo media won't seem to support the 'best' candidate on the republican side.  The government/circus will never properly change before systemic chaos brought by its own ineptitude and corruption brings it down!

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

So you submitted to police interrogation? They just punched your ticket, they'll be back...

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

POSSESSION OF A FIREARM OR AMMUNITION BY A PROHIBITED PERSON

18 USC § 922(g) & (n).  Punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.  May receive minimum sentence of 15 years without parole if offender has three or more prior convictions for a felony crime of violence (e.g. burglary, robbery, assault, possession of offensive weapons) and/or drug trafficking felony.

     Elements

    A. Possession or receipt of a firearm or ammunition;

    B. By a subject who falls within one of  the following categories:

Felon - (Additionally, persons awaiting trial on felony charges are prohibited from receiving firearms.);

Drug user or addict - (Often shown where paraphernalia seized, subject tests positive for drugs and/or subject claims drugs were possessed for personal use.); 

***

Monkey
Monkey

Have a card and they give you your weed and gun back, not hard to comprehend. Obviously they did a background check on me and my gun before releasing the weapon.   Without some cards on me maybe they would have pursued those other crimes, that's why this is a good example of the card protecting me. I still have my weed and my guns. I'm a long time smoker and would never have imagined I could walk into the police station and pick up a bunch of weed and a gun, but that's what happened. Loaded my gun and my bowl in the police parking lot, I didn't smoke that bowl until I got home of coarse, that would be illegal. 

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

I was in a auto accident with a very large amount of weed and a Glock.

USE, CARRY OR POSSESS A FIREARM IN  RELATION TO OR INFURTHERANCE OF A  DRUG FELONY OR A FEDERAL CRIME OF VIOLENCE:

18 USC § 924(c).  Punishment ranges from at least 5 years up to life imprisonment, without parole, or death if death results from use of firearm.  Sentence must be served consecutive to any other sentence. Mandatory minimum sentence increases depending upon:  the type of firearm involved (sawed-off gun, silencer, etc.); whether more than one offense was committed; and whether gun was simply possessed  or was brandished or discharged.

TRACING OF FIREARMS:

Firearms information for every firearm, even if only identified during a field interview or traffic stop, should be sent to ATF for tracing and possible connection to other criminal activity.

HTH.

Monkey
Monkey

HCC is living in fear too, hard to believe. No interrogation, no ticket and no place to go back to unlike what would have happened without cards with my name on them. I don't even remember talking to cops. I was in a auto accident with a very large amount of weed and a Glock. After being released from the hospital, I went to the police station to retrieve my weed and my gun, which were held in safe keeping not evidence, and received sympathy for my injuries and a "have a nice day" while handing me my weed and gun, no mention of DUI either. Yes, they do have my home address but I don't think they're wasting time watching my house that may or may not contain cannabis. If they do I will politely waive to them as I'm leaving with a car full of weed and the gun they gave back. In my experience, having a card or cards is a great way to avoid court, $35 certificate and have a nice day or a $2000 attorney bill and no weed, you make your own decision. 

LarryQ5
LarryQ5

 Wow! Now thats a lot of paranoia for only 35 bux!

Jake
Jake

A defense attorney costs a lot more than that!

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

You'll still need the attorney, with or without the card, if you're accused of DUI marijuana.

HTH.

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