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Medical marijuana: Active red cards continue to decrease

Categories: Marijuana

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The Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry saw a decrease of more than 1,000 active red cards at the end of May - marking the second straight month of such declines, despite nearly 6,000 new patient applications over that time period. As of May 31, there were 105,886 active medical marijuana patients in the state, down 1,276 from the month before. Over the same period, the total number of new patient applications received to date by the CDPHE increased by 3,172 to 220,637. It's been the same story since November, when Amendment 64 passed: While the number of applications is high, the number of people either not renewing or dropping off the registry has far surpassed any growth in new patients.

As we've pointed out before, activists and state officials predicted a decline in patient numbers after Amendment 64 passed and patients no longer had to pay money to the state and register with the health department in order to cultivate cannabis on their own. And if recreational cannabis shops ever open up, many people have said they'll drop their red cards since they'll no longer be needed to purchase cannabis if you're an adult 21 and over. Still, in the eight months since the November election, the registry has only dropped by about 1,000 active cardholders.

But a sub-par audit of the CDPHE medical marijuana registry program released earlier this week may help hasten the decline. Among the more troubling parts of the audit was information showing that the CDPHE has had fifteen confidentiality breaches of the "confidential" registry over the last four years. Most were to CDPHE employees who didn't have permission to see the data, and the rest were cards mailed to incorrect addresses. But with simple mistakes like that occurring, patients may find it hard to trust the department to keep their information confidential.

Add to those blunders the fact that the CDPHE has reportedly finished its computer linkup with state law-enforcement computers. Though state law makes it clear that police can only access registry information when presented with a state-issued red card (and even then only a confirmation or denial that a person has a red card) there's seemingly plenty of wiggle room for abuse in a system that was built to show how many plants a person is allowed to grow and how many ounces they are allowed to possesse. Even the auditors questioned the legality of that in their report.

Other statistics on the registry remained about the same, though there were slight increases in the average age of patients (up a year to 42), the number of minors (up to 41 from 35 in April) and the percentage of patients living in the metro area (up to 59 percent from 58 the month before). The majority of patients (57 percent) designate a medical dispensary or private caregiver to grow herb for them, with most opting for the dispensary route over a private caregiver, according to CDPHE spokesman Mark Salley.

The number of physicians who have patients with active medical marijuana recommendations also stayed the same: about 800 doctors. However, the state audit also revealed that about a dozen doctors are responsible for almost half of all patients on the registry. Some doctors have signed off on as many as 8,427 people -- thousands more patients than even the busiest physicians see every year.

From our Marijuana archives: "Marijuana trimming isn't just an illegal trade anymore."


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14 comments
Monkey
Monkey

No one cares about caregivers, and the audit hasn't changed that. The CDPHE knows they have no enforcement authority, so to appease the auditors, much like they did when appeasing HB1284, they simply make a new form or change the wording. This is the extent of the "control" the dept. will take, while caregivers and patients will be allowed to do what they've always done, decide for themselves without any interference from the CDPHE. They never deny caregivers to serve more than 5 patients, and patients are free to designate any caregiver they want, regardless of how many patients the caregiver is currently serving.

To be released Aug. 2013.

NEW FORMSMMR1012 Caregiver Acknowledgment. Caregivers must complete this form to acknowledge they are assuming significant responsibility for managing the patient’s well-being. If a caregiver has five or more patients currently, the patient must also complete optional Section C: Patient Limit Waiver.

OBSOLETE FORMMMR1009 Caregiver’s Patient Limit WaiverWith the introduction of MMR1012 Caregiver Acknowledgement, the Registry will no longer be using this form to approve caregivers with more than five patients.

If you want someone to grow your weed for you instead of buying commercial crap, designating a caregiver is still the way to go. I wish A64 would have allowed adults to designate a personal gardener, but it was all about the commercialization of weed, not liberating adults who use cannabis.

Monkey
Monkey

No one cares about caregivers, and the audit hasn't changed that. The CDPHE knows they have no enforcement authority, so to appease the auditors, much like they did when appeasing HB1284, they simply make a new form or change the wording. This is the extent of the "control" the dept. will take, while caregivers and patients will be allowed to do what they've always done, decide for themselves without any interference from the CDPHE. They never deny caregivers to serve more than 5 patients, and patients are free to designate any caregiver they want, regardless of how many patients the caregiver is currently serving.

To be released Aug. 2013.

NEW FORMSMMR1012 Caregiver Acknowledgment. Caregivers must complete this form to acknowledge they are assuming significant responsibility for managing the patient’s well-being. If a caregiver has five or more patients currently, the patient must also complete optional Section C: Patient Limit Waiver.

OBSOLETE FORMMMR1009 Caregiver’s Patient Limit WaiverWith the introduction of MMR1012 Caregiver Acknowledgement, the Registry will no longer be using this form to approve caregivers with more than five patients.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

The prohibitionists don't give up; they use their ensconced positions within the General Assembly and State bureaucracy to fight on.  It wasn't enough to take over dispensaries -- the campaign against caregivers continues.  The so-called "Audit Committee", or at least the prohibitionists on it (like vampire Steve King) apparently spent much of its time lining up support for further depredations against caregivers in the CDPHE and DOR.  We turned back the effort to turn caregivers into glorified personal assistants in June of 2009, but less than two years later, caregivers were required to provide services unrelated to medical cannabis, and now the prohibitionists seek to impose specific requirements to make caregiving next to impossible.  The Audit Committee has secured the agreement of the CDPHE to prevent doctors from recommending that patients have more than six plants.  The Establishment's counterrevolution against medical cannabis has proceeded because patients failed to organize behind effective political leadership, and because the State deprived caregivers of their prerogative to dispense cannabis to patients from dispensaries, leaving greedheads in charge who do the State's bidding, and similarly fail to educate or organize patients.

Cannabis was made a medicine in Colorado by the will of the People of Colorado, but the CDPHE has done everything in its power to stymie the intent of Article XVIII, Section 14, conducting no studies, sponsoring no research, and certifying no new conditions as suitable for treatment with cannabis, even as evidence of its medical utitlity mounts.  Patients' needs have been forgotten in the rush to commercialize cannabis (which has transfixed most people within the so-called "industry") -- the prohibitionists never cared about patients, except insofar as they represented an inconvenient truth, and proceed against both medical and recreational cannabis using strategies appropriate for each.  Even as Colorado anticipates a market open to all adults next January, the prohibitionists plan to round up caregivers and patients and apply the criminal law to them, while they sabotage the retail market with municipal bans and prohibitive taxes.  Of course the fascists will not prevent people from using cannabis, but if those who choose to use it continue to eschew any knowledge or involvement of politics, the intent of the majority of Coloradans that adults be free to use it will be balked at every turn.

The single greatest political opportunity that we have is to use the People's determination that cannabis "should be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol" and the fact that violations of our Liquor Code are only misdemeanors to press for the rescission of felony penalties for cannabis.  It remains to be seen whether any of the inappropriate taxes on cannabis can be defeated, but it is our job to try -- there is no justification for any of them, and the General Assembly's referred inititative fails to offer the electorate the choice of an up or down vote on the one tax we authorized it to request of us.  Both of the signal changes in our Law, the constitutional provisions for medical and recreational cannabis, were in effect given to us by groups outside the State who realized that the People of Colorado were ready for change.  If Coloradans who choose to use cannabis cannot or will not build on the manifest success those measures had in curtailing Prohibition, we are doomed to remain victims of it.  We can expect no more constitutional initiatives or further electoral reform against Prohibition unless we take political responsibility for ending it and use the tools for the purpose lying within easy reach.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay I briefly (for several hours over the course of a few days) undertook a public information campain on Denver Craigslist a couple of months ago to warn the self-described "Amendment 64 compliant" posters of their peril; five thanked me.  I consider that a moderate investment of time (from now until felony penaties are rescinded) could prevent many arrests for distribution of cannabis, because I know that I succeeded in communicating with a number of posters, and the number of such ads dropped precipitously (while I was doing this).  I spoke to one of the principals of the Denver Cannabis Club -- who was very defensive, about two weeks before they were arrested.  I do not communicate much with MMIG or Sensible Colorado, but I suggested to both to Mike Elliott and Josh Kappel that sponsoring a public service project to inform Craigslist posters would:  (1) support the regulated market for which their organizations campaign by discouraging the illicit trade, (2) garner public attention for discouraging illicit deliveries, and (3) keep cannabis-users from legal jeopardy; neither was interested.

It is easy to suggest that they, both lawyers, share a common interest with other lawyers in maintaining criminal liabililty for cannabis, but driving sellers off Craigslist unquestionably furthers MMIG and Sensible's respective political programs.  The calculus that the creation of regulated markets in the states is the most effective way to end Prohibition may well be correct, but the impetus to persecute people for inoccuous private conduct is what we must challenge.  It's not some accident that we made "the land of the free" the land of prisons instead, but the fruit of decades of bad policy, pursued by both the Fascist and Collaborationist Parties, who have governed our country for a hundred and fifty years, and whose members in government have now suspended the Constitution.

SoFar
SoFar

@Monkey"it was all about the commercialization of weed, not liberating adults who use cannabis."

Amendment 64 allows adults over 21 to help other adults over 21 grow their own cannabis. You can also grow your own.

Nobody is forcing anyone to purchase warehouse buds here.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@Monkey "No one cares about caregivers ..." -- tell that to patients in need!  I care about caregivers; they still exist, and many still care for patients.  The impetus to render them irrelevant needs to resisted by all means possible, not acceded to, and we have the Constitution on our side.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @RobertChase "The prohibitionists don't give up; they use their ensconced positions within the General Assembly and State bureaucracy to fight on"

@RobertChase "Granting the DOR regulatory authority over retail sales of cannabis is not bad at all" 

@RobertChase "The DOR's regulations have not resulted in a single arrest" 

@RobertChase = the meddling dilettante poseur who supported and voted for that festering turd A64, which capitulated total control of marijuana to those Prohibitionist Politicians and Law Enforcement Goons who've been running the drug war against citizens for over 40+ years.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RobertChase

"Amendment 64 will prevent ~10,000 arrests for cannabis annually in Colorado" -- Robert Chase

So you admit it was a BIG LIE, eh?

Shame on YOU! ... you mendacious prevaricating prohibitionist piece of crap.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay  Some people can still read -- more than a few disconnected sentences.  Understanding Prohibition in Colorado requires knowledge of the recent history of efforts at reform, and I am happy to communicate what I have learned over my past four years in the vanguard.  This is not 2012, and Article XVIII, Section 16 of the Constitution should be regarded as a tool with which Coloradans who oppose Prohibition (not you) can end felony penalties for cannabis.  The greatest impediment to ending Prohibition in Colorado is the inertia among those who use it, for which you are a cheerleader.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RobertChase "I consistently support patients and caregivers."

"I am not even a registered patient" -- Robert Chase

"Granting the DOR regulatory authority over retail sales of cannabis is not bad at all" -- Robert Chase

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay  Lunatic troll -- I consistently support patients and caregivers.  Your political understanding is akin to the perception of a man chained to the wall of a cave, who sees only the shadows of figures cast by a fire outside.  Your pronouncements are uninformed by experience; get off your ass, out from behind your keyboard, and into the halls of power, and you might acquire some understanding.

I have learned much in the past four years, advocating for the public interest, and I know that people can redirect the course of representative government.  When a popular movement supports change, instead of a just voice in the wilderness, real progress can be effected.  You advocate for nothing, and your vociferation serves the cause of inaction.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RobertChase ... you lost, it's over, YOU and the clueless bong-sucking simpletons SURRENDERED and CAPITUALTED total control of marijuana over to Greedy Big $$ Dispensary Cartels, their insatiable bedfellows at the Dept. of Revenue and the Prohibitionist Jackboots of Law Enforcement who will be employed and used by the former to ensure that NO INDIVIDUAL Patient/Caregiver will ever be allowed the freedom to produce an independent, sustainable, untaxed and unrestricted supply for themselves and their clients.

YOU completely FUCKED the very patients/caregivers/private users you feign to care about, and you continue to do so everytime you use the denigrating Prohibitionist Propaganda about "black markets" -- i.e. individual growers, buyers, users and sellers of marijuana.

Robert Chase = an anti-individual, STATIST BigGovernment Prohibitionist Puke



RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay -- and even that is taken out of context, but it makes a poor answer even so.  You and your imaginary friend have no program, other than inertia:  you just wrote that the black market in Boulder "worked just fine for the last 40+ years"; in other words, you would rather perpetuate the illegality of the sale of cannabis in Boulder than permitting the DOR to regulate it (by means of undoubtedly overbearing,  unnecessarily burdensome, and/or unworkable regulations).  Whose interests does that serve?  I will venture that it does not serve the interests of those arrested or convicted of felonies, or of the society that deems them criminal, or of the taxpayers, who have to pay to maintain a class of predatory parasites upon society to enforce the drug laws (which have served the fascists well as they progressively nullified the Fourth Amendment, which even Obama now declares, is, in effect, suspended.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RobertChase 

"I oppose the recreational use of cannabis by minors"
-- Robert Prohibitionist Chase

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