HB1284 Update

The bill will shut down 95% of dispensaries in Colorado. The bill will now be voted on by the full Senate. CTI is urging patient rights supporters to contact their state senators and urge them to vote No on HB1284.

Click here to contact your Senators

HB1284 is a 72-page regulatory nightmare that allows the Department of Revenue to control the licensing and all standards of medical marijuana "centers." On April 22, the bill passed the full House by a vote of 39 to 23. On April 27, 2010, it passed the Senate Local Government Committee by a 6 to 0 vote . HB1284 now moves on to Appropriations and then a vote of the full Senate. Call and email your state senator now and ask them to vote NO on HB1284.

The bill requires a dispensary to get a state license, a local license and a cultivation license. A state license might cost up to $50,000. A dispensary would have to grow 70% of their medicine onsite, pushing them over the 100 plant limit that attracts the attention of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. HB1284 creates Medical Marijuana Enforcement Investigators, who could investigate the center any time it is open, or appears to be open. They do not need a search warrant, but they would have police powers to enforce all Colorado laws. Dispensaries could expect an auditor with a gun to be at their clinic every 5 to 7 days.

As the bill stands now, all dispensaries will have to become compliant with the new regulations by July 1, 2010.

Remember, the medical marijuana program and distribution system in Colorado is 100% legal right now. Everyone has a 100% Constitutional right to do exactly as they are doing right now in Colorado. The state has given *no* justification for eliminating these Constitutional rights, because there have been no significant problems with the new medical marijuana industry.
Dispensary owners are not getting arrested because what they are doing is legal, protected by the Article XVIII Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution. HB1284 would invite armed money-and-medicine-counters into health clinics that are creating no problems for the community right now. Medical marijuana would be regulated stricter than alcohol or narcotics or child molesters. Every transaction will be video-taped and every gram will be counted by "auditors with guns."

We suggest that the state instead set up a Commission to study the issue to make sure the needs of the patient are foremost in any legislation and to make sure this complicated issue gets addressed properly.

Click here to read a more detailed analysis of HB1284 from attorneys"

Analysis by Attorney Danyel Joffe

Analysis by Attorney Lauren Davis

Analysis by Attorneys Robert J. Corry, Jr. and Jessica Corry

Click here to contact your Senators

For immediate release: April 28, 2010

HB1284 Passes - Sad Day for Colorado Patients

Contact: Cannabis Therapy Institute

{Denver} -- The Colorado state Senate Local Government Committee took hours of testimony yesterday on HB1284. One of the bill's sponsors, Sen. Chris Romer (D-Denver), was quoted in several articles yesterday saying that the bill is designed to shut down 80% of caregiving businesses in Colorado. The Committee hearing started at 2pm and finally adjourned at 11:30pm. The Committee voted in favor of HB1284 and some of its last minute amendments
by a vote of 6 to 0, with Senator Cadman absent.

Laura Kriho of the Cannabis Therapy Institute says, "This is a sad day for patients. Not only have they been sold out by their lawmakers, but they have been sold out by well-funded dispensaries. This bill will destroy patients' access to their medicine, drive prices up, and force patients back into the black market. The will of the voters has been ignored once again by lawmakers, and sick and dying Colorado citizens will suffer."

"This is taking patient rights back over 100 years," says Timothy Tipton, a patient advocate with the Rocky Mountain Caregivers Cooperative "Things are going in the wrong direction. Patients in the 1800s had better access to cannabis medicine than they will under this new law."

In a departure from hearings in other committees, the Local Government Committee Chair, Sen. Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass), allowed disabled patients to testify first. This was followed by several hours of testimony from law enforcement, including the District Attorney for Adams and Broomfield Counties, the District Attorney for El Paso and Teller Counties, the District Attorney for Jefferson and Gilpin Counties, the County Sheriffs of Colorado, the Colorado Chiefs of Police Association, the North Metro Drug Task force, and more. Most of the law enforcement testified against the bill, saying that they didn't believe the "dispensary model" was allowed
under Colorado's medical marijuana constitutional amendment.

Several representatives of Coloradans for Medical Marijuana Regulation, a lobbying group hired by a handful of well-funded dispensaries who have been "working with" Senator Romer on gaining concessions friendly to big business. CMMR testified in favor of HB1284, but was against a dozen or so last-minute amendments to the bill that Senator Romer surprised them with that morning.

Laura Kriho, the director of the Cannabis Therapy Institute, urged the Committee to kill HB1284 and urged lawmakers to form a statewide commission to study programs that have been working locally and recommend a bill that had a broad base of support. Mark Simon, an activist with the disabled community, testified that neither Sen. Romer nor anyone else had reached out to the disabled community to get their input on the bill.

Others who gave testimony against HB1284 were attorneys Robert J. Corry, Jr. and Lauren Davis; Laurel Alterman, owner of Altermeds dispensary in Louisville; Miguel Lopez of Mile High NORML; Robert Chase of Colorado Coalition of Patients and Caregivers; and the Colorado Springs Medical Marijuana Council. The mountain contingent was well-represented with Kathleen Chippi, owner of One Brown Mouse dispensary in Nederland; Jessica LaRoux of Twirling Hippy Confections and Mark Rose of Grateful Meds dispensary in Nederland all testifying eloquently against the bill.