Tuesday a panel of Colorado state senators voted to scrap nearly all of the administration’s plans to change the state’s rules regulating medical marijuana.
If lawmakers don’t act quickly the current medical marijuana regulations established in 2010 will expire by year’s end.
Regulators from the office of Governor John Hickenlooper proposed the changes, 15 in total – including a focus on cracking down on medical caregivers.
Under current medical marijuana laws caregivers are defined as people who are authorized to grow marijuana on other people’s behalf who are on the medical marijuana registry.
“There’s a concern of a general lack of oversight of the caregivers”
said Brian Tobias of the Department of Regulated Agencies.
Many law enforcement and other regulation entities believe caregivers are a large source for illicit dealings, specifically marijuana leaving the state. Caregivers are for the most part, unregulated and nearly impossible to track, nothing like dispensaries.
However, senators from both sides of the aisle saw it differently – voting 5-0 to completely scrap the current law and debate every aspect from scratch.
“Many of these are rather major large policy changes and those should be debated individually,” said Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs.
Marijuana activists present at the hearing warned that the state is going too far, hinting at the possibility of lawsuits if some key parts of the current medical bill were removed or changed.
“These people aren’t going to do it, because they don’t trust law enforcement. They don’t trust government”
warned Phillip Barton, a medical marijuana patient and activist.
Another hot topic was testing requirements. Currently all marijuana designated for recreational sale must be tested for potency and contaminants, but the same tests are optional for medical marijuana.
Many attribute this loop hole to the lack of a structured testing environment when the original medical legislation was passed.
“We test for recreational use of marijuana but not for medicine. There’s something that’s not quite right about that”
Debate on proposed changes could begin as early as next week.
H/T: Kristen Wyatt
After almost ten years of medical practice, a doctor and his former nurse out of Arvada, CO are facing two felony charges for medial marijuana recommendation fraud. Both, Dr. Lenny Sujdak and now retired nurse, Debra Gady, reportedly admitted to the accusations when each appeared separately in court on Monday to learn about the charges.
Over the course of one year, from the spring of 2011 to spring 2012, Dr. Sujdak was the certifying physician on over 7,000 medical marijuana recommendations to patients. If he worked all 365 days that year, he would have had to have examined an average of 19 patients per day in order to issue that many recommendations. That was not the case.
Often, his nurse at the the time, Debra Gady, would issue the recommendations for him without Dr. Sujdak every having seen the patient. He would purposefully leave her with pre-signed forms, so that she could issue them to patients. Under Colorado law, in order to be issued a medical marijuana recommendation, a bona-fide physician and patient relationship is required. This means that the patient must be examined by only the issuing physician, and only the physician can determine whether the patient would benefit from the use of medical marijuana.
The investigation began when an undercover officer with the North Metro Drug Task Force was able to purchase a pre-signed medical marijuana recommendation signed by Dr. Sudjak at the Hempcon held at the Denver Mart in October 2011. The officer purchased the physician recommendation from Debra Gady for just $100. In this case, he did not even have to step foot into Dr. Sujdak’s office.
Currently, Dr. Sujdak is still practicing at his Arvada office, but his license is restricted. He is no longer permitted to issue medical marijuana recommendations. He is required to attend an ethics training class, as well. Only time will tell whether or not they will serve time in prison for this fraudulent activity.
photo credit: CBS Denver
Many schools in Colorado desperately need to hire more health care employees, such as counselors, social workers, and nurses, and thanks to the marijuana using residents and tourists in the state, some schools will be able to do just that.
The Colorado Department of Education awarded $975,658 to eleven different schools, yesterday, to be allocated to hiring these much needed health care employees. A total of twelve grant applications were submitted throughout the month they were being accepted, and eleven of those grants were awarded. The gifting of cannabis-tax grant money will not end with this round of approvals, however, because a second round of applications were being accepted until last week. The second round window closed after receiving sixteen submissions.
To address any worries that all of the funding may not be awarded, coordinator for the School Health Professional grant, Lynn Jenkins-Nygren told the Denver Post,
“We’re confident we will get very close to using the funds. The second round has a lot of larger districts.”
The first round of selected schools are listed below with the amount of money that was awarded.
The New America School, $169,232
HOPE Online Learning Academy, $131,900
Cripple Creek School District, $108,024
St.Vrain Valley School District, $96,650
Atlas Preparatory School, $89,200
Center Consolidated Schools 26JT, $87,062
Archuleta School District No. 50 JT, $65,790
Mountain Valley School District RE-1, $64,000
South Routt School District RE-3, $60,360
GOAL Academy, $53,440
Alamosa School District, $50,000
photo credit: globalfinance