For immediate release: September 30, 2010

Department of Revenue Makes Patients Wait for Medicine

New Patient Collective Business Model Announced

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Contact: Cannabis Therapy Institute

(Denver) -- On Monday, Matt Cook, head of the Colorado Department of Revenue's new Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division, released a memo that states the DoR will require patients to wait 35 days after they have applied for their medical marijuana card before they purchase medicine from any of the new Department of Revenue-controlled "Medical Marijuana Centers (MMCs)."

Click here to read the memo:

According to Medical Marijuana Amendment in the Colorado Constitution, the Department of Health has 35 days to deny a patient's application to the Medical Marijuana Registry. If they do not deny it within 35 days, the application is "deemed to have been approved." The Cook memo states that MMCs cannot legally sell to patients until 35 days have passed because there is still a chance their application will be rejected.

HB1284, passed by the Colorado legislature last summer, created a new business entity called the "Medical Marijuana Center". Before 1284, patients purchased medicine from caregivers and dispensaries under protection of the Constitution. Caregivers and dispensaries were given an affirmative defense to marijuana charges even if they provided medicine to a patient without an actual Registry ID card, as long as the patient could prove they had been previously diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition. Under the Constitution, applying for a Registry card is optional for an affirmative defense. This affirmative defense clause allowed patients to begin receiving their medicine immediately.

Unfortunately, HB1284 outlawed the caregiver model, by limiting caregivers to 5 patients or less and requiring MMC applicants to forfeit their Constitutional right to be a caregiver.

HB1284 took caregivers away from patients and substituted the "statutory privilege" of purchasing medicine from an MMC. But this means that patients must to give up their Constitutional rights to acquire medicine as soon as they need it.

"This is not about compassion, this is about control," says patient advocate Timothy Tipton. "Caregivers have taken care of patients and patients have taken care of patients for over 10 years now in Colorado with no problems. This new policy of restricting medicine to patients until they have been sick for over a month creates unnecessary pain and suffering for thousands of Colorado patients."

"This is extremely unfair to patients," says attorney Danyel Joffe, author of several medical marijuana action alerts on the subject. "Other medical patients do not have to wait 35 days before they can buy their medication."

Denver medical marijuana attorney Lauren C. Davis said the memo "demonstrates how wrong certain portions of the legislative policy underlying HB1284 are." Lauren continues, "This rule effectively denies patients' access to medicine, even after they have jumped through all of the hoops the State has put in their way. Amendment 20 does not even require patients to apply for a registry card. HB 1284 not only illegally imposes that requirement on patients, it requires patients to wait even longer to get medicine once they have applied. This is another clear example that the legislature and the Department of Revenue do not care about patient's rights or their safe access to medicine. We must challenge the provisions of 1284 that hurt patients and caregiver rights."

Attorney Adam Mayo of Steamboat Springs is also concerned about the erosion of patients' Constitutional rights. On October 25, Adam will be in Boulder to give a legal seminar titled, "Overcoming HB1284: Forming Legal Patient Collectives". Adam will present a new business model that allows patients to continue to help other patients without worrying about the restrictions created by HB1284. The Patient Collective business model (protected by Constitutional rights) may actually offer more legal protection than the MMC model (protected only by statutory privilege). Like MMC's, patient collectives can be run as for-profit organizations. Unlike MMC's, Patient Collectives are not regulated by HB1284 & enjoy 100% protection under the Constitution.


An AP article today announced another assault on patient rights in the form of the DoR's new patient tracking system which would require fingerprinting patients, using radio frequency identification tags (RFID), photographing patients as they make each purchase, and tracking to see if "too many" purchases were made by a patient. This system would be shared by the Department of Revenue and law enforcement.

The Cannabis Therapy Institute is committed to fighting for the rights of cannabis patients to have safe, affordable and confidential access to quality medicine as soon as they need it.


If you would like to fight for your Constitutional rights, please send an email to:
Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project
Describe your particular case and how you would like to be involved in this project. They are currently seeking plaintiffs and funders.

For 10 years prior to HB1284, caregivers in Colorado were allowed to provide medical marijuana to their patients in a safe, compassionate way. It is time for the industry to fight back against these un-Constitutional laws and take the industry back from government regulators, who only seek ways to put dispensaries out of business and open patients to unprecedented levels of scrutiny.