For immediate release, Feb. 3, 2010

Contact: Cannabis Therapy Institute

Thursday: SB109 Public Comment at House Judiciary Committee

The first of the Law Enforcement bills designed to restrict patients' access to medical marijuana in Colorado (SB109) sailed through the Senate on Feb. 1, by a vote of 34 to 1. The bill has now been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee and public comment will be taken on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010.

Click here to read the entire bill

House Judiciary Committee
Hearing on SB109
Thursday., Feb. 4, 2010

Time: 1:30pm*
*We are encouraging supporters to arrive at Noon to coordinate our opposition response and get prominent seats. Get your No on SB109 badges beforehand from Robert Chase.

Location: Old Supreme Court Chambers
2nd Floor on the North Side
State Capitol Building
200 E. Colfax, Denver, CO

For last-minute updates and changes, call the Bill Room:
(303) 866-3055

*NO ON SB109*

Now is the time to contact the House Judiciary Committee members, as well as your House members, and ask them to vote NO on SB109.

SB109 Endangers Patients' Safe Access

SB109 went through some minor changes before it was approved by the Senate, but the net effect is still to increase the cost to patients and diminish the confidentiality of the registry.

Increases Cost of Physician's Recommendation

Senate Bill 109 redefines the term "bona-fide physician-patient relationship" from Article XVIII, Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution (Colorado's Medical Marijuana Law) as requiring that the recommending physician complete a full physical exam on the patient, dramatically increasing the yearly cost to patients. Physicians are now able to write recommendations based on the patient's records from their primary care physician without undertaking a redundant and often unnecessary additional physical exam. This will increase the yearly cost to patients.

Current Yearly Cost to Patients
Examination of previous medical history by a physician: $100
Registration fee for the State: $90
Total: $190

New SB109 Cost to Patients
Full physical exam: $250 to $500
Registration fee for the State: $90
New total: $340 to $590

Confidential Registry Not So Confidential Anymore

Inexplicably, SB109 eliminates the word "confidential" from current law in three different places.

Furthermore, SB109 contains a new provision that states the "confidential" registry may now be used by "to determine whether a physician should be referred to the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners." This provision will completely undermine the sanctity of the Registry, by making inspection of patient records open to a whim of whomever wants to go fishing for information to hold against certain physicians. It uses the Medical Marijuana Registry to perpetuate a government-sponsored witch-hunt against physicians.

SB109 also allows the Department of Public Health and Environment to report "suspicious" physician activity to the State Board of Medical Examiners, and allows the DoPHE to "suspend a physician's authority" to recommend medical marijuana. This is in clear violation of the Constitution, which protects physicians from being denied any rights or privileges under the law.

SB109 also allows the State Board of Medical Examiners to appropriate money from the Registry, to "cover the direct and indirect costs associated with investigating and prosecuting referrals of physicians from the state health agency in relation to the medical marijuana program." This money, which comes from patient application fees, could be used to hire extra workers to process the backlog of applications the Registry currently has piled in its office. Instead, state lawmakers want to use the patient fees to investigate and prosecute physicians.

Finally, SB109 allows the Department of Public Health and Environment to develop guidelines for "communications with law enforcement officials about confidential registry identification cards that have been suspended when a patient is no longer diagnosed as having a debilitating medical condition." Does this mean that when your card expires, the DoPHE will notify the police to come knocking at your door to confiscate your now-illegal medicine?

Patient privacy and confidentiality should be at the foremost of our legislators concerns, yet they are allowing SB109 to trample these rights with no justification.

Younger Patients

The Senate eliminated the provision for a Medical Review Board that would have been allowed a government "Pain Panel" to override the recommendation of a physician if the patient were under 21 years old. However, the Senate added a provision that patients under 21 must receive a recommendation from two physicians. Once again, this is an unnecessary and discriminatory burden on younger patients, who would be forced to pay for an additional exam. This provision clearly violates Article XVIII, Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution, which treats people 18-21 years of age as adults without further restrictions.

Court-Appointed Physicians

SB109 contains a sneaky new provision, never before-seen, that requires any patient convicted of a marijuana offense, sentenced to drug abuse treatment or sentenced to the Division of Youth Corrections to immediately try to renew their patient ID card. In order to get this renewal, the patient must use a "court-appointed physician." Forcing a patient to use a government-selected physician is an unprecedented assault on medical rights and the patient-doctor relationship.

*More Analyses*

Rob Corry's Analysis of the Original Version of SB109

Rob Corry's Spoof of SB109 replaces the term "medical marijuana" with the word "abortion" to show how discriminatory the bill is.

Contact the House Judiciary Committee and your House Member

Ask them to vote NO on SB109.

1) Be respectful and calm.

2) In your own words, state your reasons that you would like them to vote against SB109. Here are some talking points:

SB109 is bad for patients because it:
- Raises the costs to patients by requiring extra exams and recordkeeping
- Raises the costs to patients by not allowing their previous medical history to be used to determine whether they would benefit from medical marijuana
- Makes the Medical Marijuana Registry less confidential
- Is discriminatory, because no other medicine in the state is regulated so harshly

3) The bill is a solution in search of a problem. The Colorado State Board of Medical Examiners already has a system set up to deal with complaints about fraudulent physicians. These additional burdens are unnecessary and discriminatory.

EMAIL ALL House Judiciary Committee Members,,,,,,,,,,

*NO ON SB109*

Rep. Claire Levy (D) - Chairperson, Majority Whip
District 13: Boulder, Clear Creek, Gilpin
Profession: Attorney
Cap: 303-866-2578

Rep. Elizabeth "Beth McCann (D)
District 8: Denver
Cap: 303-866-2959

Rep. Lois Court (D)
District 6: Arapahoe, Denver
Cap: 303-866-2967

Rep. Bob Gardner (R)

District 21: El Paso
Profession: Attorney
Cap: 303-866-2191

Rep. Daniel Kagan (D)
District 3: Arapahoe
Cap: 303-866-2921

Rep. Steve King (R)
District 54: Delta, Mesa
Profession: Violent Crime Investigator
Cap: 303-866-3068

Rep. Joe Miklosi (D)
District 9: Denver
Cap: 303-866-2910

Rep. B.J. Nikkel (R)
District 49: Larimer, Weld
Cap: 303-866-2907

Rep. Sal Pace (D)
District: 6 Pueblo
Cap: 303-866-2968

Rep. Su Ryden (D)
District 36: Arapahoe
Cap: 303-866-2942

Rep. Mark Waller (R)
District 15: El Paso
Profession: Attorney
Cap: 303-866-5525

Remember to cc us on any correspondence with legislators: