The landscape of the booming Colorado Medical Marijuana Industry is constantly evolving and keeping all budding entrepreneurs and medical marijuana doctors on their toes and under the virtual eye of the Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division.
New state and local regulations have transformed Colorado into the most regulated and only “for-profit” industry in the nation. For participants of the Colorado Medical Marijuana Program, these sporadic changes often make it difficult to find safe, reliable access to the medicine that patients seek. Business owners, however, are feeling the brunt of this broad overhaul of rules and regulation. Many hope that the crackdown does not spread to smaller groups like the Littleton marijuana doctor and patient communities.
Most recently, the city of Longmont banned the operation of medical marijuana businesses with the support of Boulder County Judge Ingrid Bakke, after a three-month delay in the judicial process. So much for all of the efforts put forth by dispensary owners and operators to develop systems and unique strains to serve their local patients. More cities across the state continue to vote on whether their city should allow medical marijuana dispensaries and related businesses. A major concern for all involved is the location and accessibility of the federally illegal substance (medical marijuana) to local communities, schools, neighborhoods and the general public. Medical Marijuana in Fort Collins and Glenwood Springs could be next in line for tighter regulations, as residents will likely get a ballot measure on the issue in November. Littleton medical marijuana may not be far behind.
Currently all medical marijuana doctors must be in good standing with the State of Colorado in order to write valid medical marijuana recommendations for qualified patients. Qualifications for medical marijuana in Colorado include debilitating conditions like cancer, glaucoma, HIV and AIDS, or a debilitating disease causing cachexia, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures or persistent muscle spasms. To qualify to see a verified Littleton marijuana doctor, patients must be a Colorado resident with a valid state-issued ID and have legitimate documentation of the conditions or ailments they are looking to be recommended medical marijuana for. Registration with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is required and the application fee is $90.
Due to the overwhelming number of required registration applications the State will no longer review submitted applications and issue receipts, however they are still required. Medical marijuana patients must retain a copy of their application to serve as a temporary validation method for their registration with the State of Colorado.
In 2010, House Bill 10-1284 and Senate Bill 10-109 were enacted with slightly vague wording and statements in reference to a required “bona fide” doctor-patient relationship. The establishment of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee provided a body of oversight on the medical marijuana industry in Colorado. Groups affected by this include not only patients and caregivers, but any Colorado marijuana doctors without a perfect record or license. Thousands of medical marijuana card applications were subsequently rejected as they came from Colorado doctors with ambiguous license conditions. These conditions included some that in no way directly affect the doctor’s ability to properly make a medical marijuana referral to Colorado patients, such as the condition restricting a doctor from surgery because of arthritis. The new laws require doctors to complete a full assessment of all patients’ medical history, discuss with the potential candidate about their applicable ailments and to be available for follow-up care. SB 109 also prevents medical marijuana doctors from being paid by dispensaries to issue recommendations.
An additional set of laws introduced by Tom Massey and Pat Steadman in House Bill 11-1043 was passed into effect spring 2011 by Gov. John Hickenlooper, who recently received warnings from Federal attorneys in Colorado warning of the risk of federal prosecution. This law adds more stringent regulations to Colorado medical marijuana businesses, while local communities like Littleton get caught in the crossfire between regulation and prohibition.