Action Alert:
Final Hearing
Denver City Council Caregiver Ban

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Tell them to vote "NO" CB-607, Medical Marijuana Zoning Changes

Call Denver City Council

Public Hearing Monday on Denver City Council Caregiver Ban

For immediate release: October 25, 2010

Press Contact:
Jake Browne, General Manager, The Releaf Center, Denver
Cannabis Therapy Institute 1-877-420-4205

{Denver} -- The Denver Releaf Center is leading the charge to protect the ability of patients and caregivers to grow an adequate supply of medicine in the City of Denver. The Denver City Council is meeting on Monday (10/25) for a final hearing on CB10-0607, a bill restricting growing
of medical marijuana in residential districts in Denver. Click here to read the Denver Releaf Center's letter to the Denver City Council.

The Denver Releaf Center is a sponsor of the Cannabis Therapy Institute's Patient Advocacy Project. Help patients, become a sponsor:

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Tell them to vote "NO" CB-607, Medical Marijuana Zoning Changes

Call Denver City Council

Final Reading
Medical Marijuana Zoning Changes
Denver City Council Meeting
When: Mon., Oct. 25
Time: Council Meeting starts at 5:30 pm
Where: Council Chambers, Room 450
City & County Building
1437 Bannock Street, Denver, CO
On the west side of the Civic Center Park.
Format: This will be the only opportunity for public comment.

The Denver City Council will discuss CB10-0607, a bill restricting growing of medical marijuana by zoning districts in the city. It would essentially eliminate the ability of a person to be a caregiver and provide cannabis for another person not living in the same house with them.

Excerpts from the bill:

The growing of medical marijuana shall comply with the following:
(1) The resident must be registered with the state as a patient
(2) No more than 6 plants per registered resident may be grown and, cumulatively, no more than 12 plants may be grown for each dwelling unit in the structure
(3) When there are multiple units in a single building, medical marijuana cannot be grown or stored in common areas; and
(4) All medicinal marijuana must be grown inside a completely enclosed structure.
area associated with the dwelling unit.

Tell the City Council to vote "NO" CB-607, Medical Marijuana Zoning Changes
and continue to allow safe access for patients and caregivers in Denver.

Contact the Denver City Council
Denver City Council Main Office
Phone: 720-865-9534
Fax: 720-865-9540

Remember to cc us on any correspondence with lawmakers:

Watch Online

City Council meetings are televised live on cable TV Channel 8, and can be viewed on the Internet:


Dear City Council,

My name is Jake Browne, and I'm the General Manager of The Releaf Center at 2000 W32nd Ave (District 9). I'd like to commend the council for continuing to revisit medical marijuana regulation in the city of Denver. Unfortunately, I feel you are moving in the wrong direction with CB10-0607. Please allow me to add another perspective to this discussion.

The magic number of 12 plants is somewhat deceiving. To be compliant with Amendment 20, a patient or caregiver has to keep six of those plants in a vegetative state, meaning only six plants are in a flowering stage. Flowering takes roughly nine weeks when you account for cutting plants down, trimming them and curing the buds. During that process, in any stage, you can experience significant crop loss. You'll need to keep a mother plant, or two, if you want both indica and sativa strains. Those mothers count against the number of plants in vegetative state, meaning every other crop you'll only have four plants producing... only three if you want to have a male plant on hand for breeding, and even fewer if you have clones available. In the simplest terms, a caregiver can grow six plants that can be smoked in 9 weeks, have four plants "on deck" and two mothers that serve no purpose other than to provide future plants from cuttings. That's not a lot of marijuana by any stretch of the imagination.

HARM: more vulnerable to crop loss, less medicine than plant numbers indicate

Large amounts of plant material are used to produce infused products and extracts. These products are key for all patients, particularly those suffering with cancer, who need a safe alternative to smoking raw plant material. Having reduced plant counts would either reduce the potency of these infused products or drive patients in the most dire circumstances to smoking. Additionally, patients in public housing could be evicted if they were left no recourse other than "lighting up."

HARM: Increased smoking rates, decreased potency of infused products, evictions

Under HB10-1284, patients must now wait 35 days from the day they mail in their recommendation before they are allowed to purchase medicine from an MMC. Since we no longer receive our protection from Amendment 20 as caregivers, we are now only legally protected by 1284 and cannot raise an affirmative defense to assist patients. Primary caregivers would then be a patient's only option for that first month. This proposal would essentially eliminate the caregiver in Denver, driving patients out of the city or completely restricting their access to medicine.

HARM: Eliminates patient access for first 35 days, decreased revenue in Denver

Councilman Linkhart was the only member I heard yesterday question the notion of plant restrictions, making the analogy to a tomato plant. We applaud him for his sensible approach to regulation. Another great example of a fairly unregulated home industry would be basement brewing. If you've never had the opportunity to smell hops during a brew process, it's hard to say it's distinctly less offensive than the fragrance of marijuana. Alcohol is a highly regulated substance that can be produced with no oversight, even with much greater potential risk (such as food poisoning) for someone being seriously harmed.

HARM: Uneven application of local law

Now, to your case...

Of the harms I've heard presented by the council, the most prevalent seems to be the "not in my backyard" mentality. For example, the times council members spoke on "group sessions" and patients "traipsing around" yesterday. I was /ashamed /to see how many of our elected officials laughed at the characterization that these patients with debilitating medical conditions are some kind of "silly stoners" out to lower neighborhood property values because of their constitutionally protected choice to use cannabis therapeutically. This couldn't be further from the truth.

In my experience, patients see a caregiver because they can't afford to shop at MMC's. I've recommended quite a few patients to private caregivers. Why is there such a dramatic difference in price? Under HB1284, a primary caregiver cannot sell a product for anything *above cost*. Yes, you read that correctly. They don't make a dime off of the medical marijuana they sell. Councilwoman Faatz jokingly referred to caregiving not as an occupation, but more like "charity." You're right,
Jeanne. While they can charge for wellness services provided, that's hardly enough to support a person while they also tend to a garden.

But, let's have an honest discussion about this "foot traffic" issue. If a caregiver has five patients, and each stop by three times a week, that's around two people coming to a house a day. Hardly outrageous.
What if all five patients stopped by on the same day for one of those "group sessions" that was joked about yesterday? My neighbors have at least that many people over every Sunday for a Broncos game. I'm far more concerned by their blood alcohol level as they leave than I am about a caregiver who is helping people with serious medical conditions.

The real issue with people coming and going isn't about people in compliance, it's about caregivers who aren't. That makes this an enforcement issue, which means this reaction is misguided. Plant levels have nothing to do with whether people choose to ignore state law; you simply punish those who do.

HARM MITIGATED: Foot traffic isn't a plant issue - it's a compliance issue, harm overstated

We've heard a lot about how "dangerous" a home growing operation is, but there has yet to be a single fire in the state of Colorado attributed to medical marijuana. As Robert Chase pointed out yesterday, this same amount of electricity powers many home appliances, such as space heaters. Even if these lights were a ticking time bomb, inspectors conceded yesterday that they won't even do electrical inspections, leaving us no better than where we started. In reference to "booby traps" in Canada, the only reports describe a group of 14 wild black bears lured near an outdoor grow using dog food. If there is additional evidence presented later, I think this would be worth more discussion.

HARM MITIGATED: Not evidence based, no proposed solution

How many plants is too many plants? The numbers that were discussed yesterday seemed to be pulled from thin air. I'm assuming, for posterities sake, none of the council members have ever cultivated marijuana, so let me shine some light on indoor growing. Limits on the number of plants will accomplish very little. Plants can be "topped", a technique that provides additional buds, multiple times that essentially provide extra plants. Additionally, multiple plants can be grafted on to a "host" plant that shares the same root structure, which is also completely legal.

HARM MITIGATED: No proposed solution

If we can't restrict the number of plants or the quantity of cannabis a caregiver is providing, what's a logical solution? Define the amount of space that they can grow in. While Mr. Chase and I have been on the opposite sides of many debates, I urge you to consider his recent proposal of 80 square feet, up to 240 square feet with approval. Not only does this give inspectors a clear, enforceable number, but it's a reasonable space for a caregiver to cultivate.

If this is a code issue, let's treat it as such, not zoning. If this is about foot traffic in residential neighborhoods, let's give caregivers a framework to work within and find those who abuse the system. If this is about outrage in the community that the sick and dying can have access to medical cannabis, let's protect the constitutional rights of the latter before bowing to the former.

But let us never forget that there are seriously ill people who are dramatically effected by the decisions you make on medical marijuana. For them, this is no laughing matter.


Jake Browne
The Releaf Center, LLC
2000 W 32nd Ave.
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 458-LEAF(5323)

Provided as a Public Service by the:
Cannabis Therapy Institute
P.O. Box 19084, Boulder, CO 80308
Phone: 877-420-4205


Remember to cc us on any correspondence with lawmakers:

Watch Online

City Council meetings are televised live on cable TV Channel 8, and can be viewed on the Internet:

Denver City Council Meetings
Time: Council Meeting starts at 5:30 pm
Where: Council Chambers, Room 450
City & County Building
1437 Bannock Street, Denver, CO
On the west side of the Civic Center Park.