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Even though the state of Colorado approved medical marijuana usage and possession roughly ten years ago, Colorado dispensaries are a relatively new phenomenon. Demand for the Cannabis in Colorado is extremely high and growing every day. Some are even concerned that the medical marijuana industry in Colorado may just be getting out of control with demand and excessive regulation. Currently, there are over 1,000 dispensaries in Colorado, 600 dispensaries in Denver and there are over 400 dispensaries in other parts of the state. Colorado has also issued over 130,000 medical marijuana cards to patients and with the boom in medical marijuana applications, the state has been forced to dictate a six month turnaround time for processing applications. However it seems that the registry has reduced the lag time from processing marijuana licenses to roughly 30 days since July of 2011. It is currently estimated that more than 100,000 patients and/or caregivers in Colorado are buying marijuana for medical use. Due to this high demand, the state health department has also been forced to stop accepting walk-up applications and will only accept those applications sent by mail. All of these recent changes have been necessary due to the overwhelming growth in marijuana applications. Workers with the state health department commented that the number of applications went from 270 in a normal work day to approximately 1,000 in a normal work day at one point in 2009. So what does all of this mean for the local dispensary in Colorado? Essentially, the major leap in dispensary openings and MMJ card applications appear to be a direct result of an easing of restrictions on both a local and a national level. DEA officials have ended raids on state-approved medical marijuana dispensaries, thanks to changing laws on a higher level. In July, 2009, Colorado voted down a proposal limiting the number of patients a caregiver or dispensary could serve to five. In October of the same year, the Obama administration ruled that authorities could not arrest or prosecute medical marijuana users and dispensaries who were not violating local laws. Thanks to a loosening of laws, dispensaries have been given a little more breathing room in their operation and in serving their clients on a state level. However, local laws and regulations still require dispensaries to follow a tight set of rules to keep their businesses operating. Requirements such as video taping inside the store and rules on what stores are able to sell may prove to be a hindrance, but this does not stop medical marijuana patients and caregivers from seeking out dispensaries at an ever-increasing rates. This rise in business has also given way to a more sophisticated dispensary boom and many dispensaries are finding themselves in the business of one-upping the competition. Denver dispensaries are now looking to create an interior atmosphere that feels much like an upscale store with art deco marijuana displays and custom paneling on the walls. All in all, as long as Colorado allows medical marijuana dispensaries, there will be plenty of business to support them.
As medical marijuana in Colorado becomes more prominent, lawmakers in the state are finding themselves inundated with creating new laws that will both assist the medical marijuana community and keep the booming culture from running rampant. As a result of this very difficult task, the ever-growing medical marijuana community must also work harder to stay abreast of the constant changes in Colorado legislature. Knowing and understanding the new laws as well as any of the changes to existing laws is a never-ending task, but one that is vitally important to the survival of the medical marijuana community.
First and foremost, the basic laws of medical marijuana in Colorado must be understood. Colorado state law permits the possession of medical marijuana by a patient or caregiver on behalf of the patient. No other possession is allowed. In order to qualify for a medical marijuana status, a person must be suffering from a chronic or debilitating disease or condition and that condition must have been diagnosed by a licensed Colorado physician who believes the use of medical marijuana will benefit the patient’s condition and well-being. When these basic conditions have been met, the patient may then apply for his or her card.
It is acceptable by the state for medical marijuana patients to possess up to two ounces of medical marijuana as well as six plants. Caregivers are also allowed to possess up to two ounces and six plants on behalf of a patient. It is important to note, however, that the two ounces and six plants are considered collectively between the two, meaning that if a patient assigns the right to cultivate six plants to the caregiver, the patient may not also grow six plants simultaneously.
In regard to medical marijuana businesses, the amendment of HB-1043 to CRS 12-43.3-101 (HB-1284) contains several items that all medical marijuana businesses should know. First there is a one-year moratorium in place and no new licenses will be issued until July 1, 2012. Businesses with existing licenses will be allowed to apply for changes to their licenses. Those with a pending license in a banned area may apply for a new license in a different location.
A medical marijuana center is allowed to sell to a patient with an application, ID and recommendation while the state is processing the application. It is the medical marijuana center’s responsibility to contact the CDPHE to confirm the application has not been denied. Medical marijuana centers are not allowed to sell to a patient with a renewal application however. They are only allowed to sell to patients with a new application. All sales below cost as well as ‘two for one’ deals and giveaways are prohibited unless it is to a patient who has been deemed indigent by the state.
Other items of importance to the new HB-1043 include making it clear which physicians are allowed to recommend medical marijuana to patients, requiring patients who desire to grow their own medical marijuana at home to register the location of the plants and the enactment of certain patient privacy restrictions for medical marijuana dispensaries. There are also new laws regarding limiting the number of cloned marijuana plants that can be sold by a Colorado medical marijuana dispensary and limiting the number of marijuana plants that producers of marijuana-infused products are allowed to possess to 500. Two provisions of Colorado medical marijuana law remain unchanged. Colorado medical marijuana dispensaries are still required to grow at least 70% of the product they sell and all commercial transactions at medical marijuana dispensaries must be recorded and made available to Colorado law enforcement officials.
Understanding these key issues will help all Colorado medical marijuana patients, caregivers and dispensary owners to adhere to public law and avoid potential prosecution. Contacting a qualified medical marijuana counselor or attorney with any questions or concerns will help to keep all medical marijuana patients, caregivers and dispensary owners within compliance of Colorado state laws.
At Colorado Medical Marijuana we want our clients to be comfortable with their knowledge of the medical marijuana laws in our state. That is why we have trained with the most knowledgeable medical marijuana lawyers in Colorado.
Our educated medical marijuana patients are familiar with Colorado marijuana laws and they enjoy safe and reliable access to their medicine as a result. The medical marijuana or cannabis laws, rules and regulations in Colorado are ever changing and it is our mission to inform you of these laws and the changes that are made to them over time.
We encourage you to familiarize yourself with our website and Amendment 20. Your rights and obligations under Colorado medical marijuana law are written into the highest levels of law in Colorado, the Colorado constitution itself. At (CMM) we consult with the states leading attorneys specializing in Colorado medical marijuana patient rights and business law.
Brief History of Colorado Medical Marijuana Use
In November of 2000, 54% of voters approved Amendment 20, which amends the state’s constitution to recognize the medical use of marijuana. The law, which took effect on June 1, 2001, removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of cannabis by patients who possess written documentation from their physician sustaining that he or she suffers from a debilitating condition and recommends that they “might benefit from the medical use of marijuana.” This documentation must be presented prior to an arrest. Patients who have not joined the registry or possess amounts of marijuana that are not allowed by law can argue the “affirmative defense of medical necessity” in court after arrested for marijuana charges.
The state of Colorado has deemed the following diagnoses legal protection under this act: cachexia; cancer; chronic pain; chronic nervous system disorders; epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures; glaucoma; HIV or AIDS; multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity; and nausea. Other conditions are subject to approval by the Colorado Board of Health.
Medical Marijuana Possession Law
A patient or their primary caregiver may legally possess no more than two ounces of a usable form of marijuana, and no more than six marijuana plants, with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants that are producing a usable form of marijuana. Patients may engage in the medical use of marijuana, with no more than is medically necessary to address a debilitating medical condition.
Legal Use Laws
The laws governing where you can use medical marijuana are very specific. Users can not engage on the use of medical marijuana in a way that endangers the health or well-being of any person; or engage in the use in plain view of, or in a place open to, the general public. Basically this limits the use of medical marijuana to a patient’s home. The law also states that “plain view” includes the patient’s yard or garage if that patient can be seen using their medicine by neighbors.
Medical Marijuana patient confidentiality is protected by law and by the procedures used by the registry. Lists of doctors, patients of caregivers cannot be given out to anyone. Law enforcement can only contact the registry to verify information on a specific identification card.
The state has enacted several medical marijuana laws that regulate the applications of medicinal marijuana use for patients. Colorado Medical Marijuana LLC encourages you to familiarize yourself with these laws so you do not run the risk of putting your rights in jeopardy. For more information about the use of medical marijuana please contact our office and our representatives would be happy to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the possession and use of medical marijuana. For specific laws, please follow the links on the left regarding Amendment 20 and Patients’ Rights.
If you would like a private consultation or referral with a medical marijuana attorney then contact one of our highly trained and highly motivated representatives today! (303) 625-4012- firstname.lastname@example.org
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For those who wish to obtain a Colorado medical marijuana card, understanding the process should not be difficult. Most questions can be answered by visiting the Colorado Department of Public Health website. Any person wishing to possess or us marijuana for medical use must first apply for a medical marijuana registry identification card from the Department of Public Health. Response times can vary depending on the situation. Rejections usually take four to six weeks. New cards or renewal cards can take four to five months and changes to a card or replacement cards may take four to six months.
During this waiting period, a patient who is questioned by law officials may present a copy of their application documentation, including the proof of the mailing date or other transmission of delivery to the state. This will be given the same legal effect as a registry card until the patient receives notice that an application has been approved or denied.
There are twelve items to bear in mind when applying for a medical marijuana card with the state of Colorado. Paying close attention to these twelve items will reduce the risk of an application being denied and can keep from slowing the application process down.
Applicants should keep in mind that it is necessary to send in an application for renewal of a Colorado medical marijuana card no sooner than 60 days before the expiration date on their card. Any applications that are received prior to this date will be considered a duplicate application and the state will require an additional $90.00 fee when renewing within the accepted time frame.
When a medical marijuana patient is sending a payment in to the medical marijuana registry, it is wise to note that the payment must be dated within the prior twelve months of the date of the application submission. Any payments that are sent that do not fit this requirement will cause an application to be returned for a new payment. Patients should be aware that all payments made to the medical marijuana registry are non-refundable and are deposited within two weeks of the application submission. All patients will have 60 days to fully correct and return any rejected applications from the date of the application rejection. If an application is returned after the given 60 day window, an additional payment of $90.00 will be required. Paying close attention to these guidelines will save the patient a lot of time and extra money spent trying to correct issues later.
When considering the subject of indigence regarding a Colorado medical marijuana card, applicants may show supplemental social security (SSI) or food stamps as proof of indigent status. However, the state will not consider Medicaid, Medicare, SSDI or any other program besides SSI or food stamps. The state will require those with SSI status to submit a copy of the SSI award complete on SSI letterhead. Those with food stamps will be required to submit a copy of their food stamp eligibility determination letter. Following these guidelines closely from beginning to end will ensure that the process of applying for a Colorado medical marijuana card will be a smooth and easy process.