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