Cannabis Therapy Institute Statement on Sen. Romer's
For immediate release Nov. 15, 2009
Contact: Cannabis Therapy Institute
Phone: (641) 715-3900 ext. 70966
Caregiver Limits and "Pain Panels" Unconstitutional;
Large-Scale Production Should Be Encouraged
The first details of state Sen. Chris Romer's (D-Denver) proposed
medical marijuana bill were reported by Erica Meltzer in the Boulder
Daily Camera on Nov. 15.
The bill would require medical cannabis caregivers to:
- Obtain a license from the state if they have two or more patients
- Develop health care plans for their patients
- Offer more services than selling marijuana to patients
- Pass criminal background checks
The bill would also:
- Require an additional medical review board to look at all applicants
from patients who are under 25 years old.
- Create a licensing system for large-scale medical cannabis production
While we have not seen Sen. Romer's bill in writing, we are disturbed
by his quoted intentions to put half of all medical cannabis caregivers
in Colorado out of business. We need more caregiving facilities
in Colorado to keep up with demand for this safe, effective medicine,
Here are the Cannabis Therapy Institute's comments on the bill's
No: Caregiver Limits
The Cannabis Therapy Institute believes that any limits on patients'
safe access to their medicine are unconstitutional. The Constitution
defines caregiver as a person "eighteen years of age or older"
who has "significant responsibility for managing the well-being
of a patient who has a debilitating medical condition." The
Constitution puts no limits on the number of caregivers the patient
can help, nor does it require them to register with the state or
to develop health plans or to pass background checks. The complexity
and difficulty of providing a patient with medical cannabis clearly
constitutes significant responsibility in and of itself, as the
state Board of Health agreed on July 20. A Court of Appeals decision
that state a caregiver had to "do more" than provide medical
marijuana erroneously relied on interpretations of California law
that have no bearing on Colorado's constitutional amendment. Any
attempt to limit this definition will certainly get overturned in
court, so it is a waste of taxpayer money to try to pursue such
No: Pain Panels
The Cannabis Therapy Institute also opposes the creation of a medical
review board that would be allowed to override the recommendation
of a physician that a patient might benefit from the medical use
of cannabis. The physician/patient relationship is sacrosanct, and
the state has no right or authority to deny a patient's Constitutional
right to use cannabis as medicine if their physician recommends
it, regardless of the patient's age. The state should not come between
a patient and his physician with the equivalent of a "Pain
Panel" that gets to determine whether or not a qualified patient
is in "true" pain. The idea that Sen. Romer wants the
government to be able to override a physician's advice to his patient
is ludicrous, discriminatory, and reeks of totalitarian rule.
Yes: Large-Scale Production
We do agree with Sen. Romer that the state should license large-scale
cultivation operations. Large-scale production would have several
benefits. First, the price of cannabis would decrease. Criminal
elements would then be less interested in it, and security would
become less of an issue.
Large-scale production would also make available the larger quantities
necessary to manufacture medicines from cannabis oils, like the
Rick Simpson oil featured in the documentary "Run from the
When members of the CTI met with Sen. Romer on Oct. 26, he said
that a lot of entities in state government are looking at medical
marijuana revenue as their "cash cow". Instead of trying
to over-regulate and tax caregiving businesses, we suggest that
the Senator look one step higher up the supply chain. Everyone knows
that the real money in this industry is for the growers.
The state should enact a licensing scheme for the state to contract
with farmers and growers to produce cannabis as a medicine crop
on a larger scale. Our estimates show that a farmer could make at
least $15 million per acre at current prices (5,000 plants per acre
at 1 pound per plant at $3000/pound). Even if the influx of product
on the market caused the price to drop in half, $7.5 million/acre
is still quite lucrative. Money enough for everyone that wants it,
and the criminals go broke because the price will plummet, making
a criminal enterprise in cannabis unprofitable. The state shouldn't
look at the small caregiving businesses as their "cash cow".
Don't over-regulate them. Let them flourish because they create
new jobs. Small businesses will be the basis for our economic recovery.
Don't tax and zone them out of existence. Instead, become one of
their suppliers and move one step up the supply chain to increase
state revenue through licensing of large-scale production
In 1915, the USDA was encouraging farmers to grown cannabis as
In 2010, we need to make sure our farmers have a fair chance at
competition in this growing Colorado industry.
Senator's Proposed Bill Endangers Patients
In our meetings with Senators Romer and Steadman, we discussed
the urgent need for a Patient Bill of Rights to protect patients
who are losing their jobs, families and housing due to their choice
of medicine. We discussed the discrimination patients are facing
in schools and their local governments. We also promoted the need
for strengthening the immunity and affirmative defense protections
to lessen patients' and caregivers' fears of arrest. We pointed
out the need for police training on compassionate medical marijuana
law enforcement. None of these patient-protection measures were
mentioned by Sen. Romer.
If Senator Romer intends to destroy the access of Colorado patients
to half of their caregivers, this will harm patients. We
cannot support this law enforcement model to medicine.
It is crucial, at this birth of the medical cannabis "farm"aceutical
industry in Colorado, that small caregiving businesses be allowed
to grow and innovate and expand without government interference.
Most new industries will put themselves itself into equilibrium
in a year or two. Over-regulation by the government is the last
thing the state should be doing right now. Let the patient market
forces decide which business models work FOR PATIENTS. Let self-regulation
of caregivers have a chance to decide what works best FOR PATIENTS.
Let the caregiving businesses establish themselves FOR PATIENTS
before the government decides the businesses need to be outlawed.
Remember, there have been no identifiable problems. The alleged
increases in crime are not based on published data. Once the price
goes down, the alleged Mexican drug cartels will no longer be interested
anyway. There have never been any deaths in over 10,000 years of
constant human use. The CU students that smoke pot don't have any
trouble finding it *even without a license* now or ever!!! The only
thing that has been offended is some people's sensibilities because
they saw a neon cannabis leaf on Broadway.
The Culture Shock of the black market in cannabis medicine coming
out of the closet so quickly in Colorado is surely jolting to a
lot of people. It will be a story to tell your grandchildren, who
when they grow up won't even be able to imagine that our government
once prosecuted people for using harmless cannabis as medicine.
You are witnessing the birth of freedom: the freedom of patients
and caregivers to engage freely in their choice of medicine, who
for years bought their medicine in back alleys and risked prosecution
and jail just to stay alive.
It may look like "freedom run wild" for the time being,
but things will settle down naturally soon. The cannabis community
is unparalleled in its ethics and commitment to support patients
and improve the lives of patients and their families. Our medicine-makers,
our cultivators, our therapists, our attorneys, our caregivers and
our advocates all speak with one voice when we speak FOR PATIENTS.
No barrier can be put between the relationship of a patient and
his caregiver or a patient and his doctor. We are fortunate enough
in Colorado to have that principle engraved in the Constitution,
and organizations like the Cannabis Therapy Institute will defend
those principles without concession.
We hope that the public now sees in a very concrete fashion that
there is no harm in medical cannabis use for adults. The only harm
has always been caused by prohibition. We must all remain vigilant
about our children and the mixed messages that all the recent positive
medical cannabis news sends in the face of the DARE Program lies
about "marijuana". Parents need to educate themselves,
so that they may educate their children on the truth. The Cannabis
Therapy Institute will continue to provide programs and materials
to help educate parents.
We must remember our sick and dying sisters, cousins, aunts and
fathers that need cannabis as medicine to survive. This is about
them, not someone whose sensibilities have been offended by a pot
leaf. Aside from licensing large-scale production, it does not look
like Senator Romer's bill will actually improve anything for patient
rights. We hope that he will reconsider this issue. We urge all
patients, caregivers, advocates, family and friends to send Sen.
Romer your comments on his proposal:
Make sure you cc us: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: Nothing in the previous CTI statement about encouraging large-scale
cultivation licensed by the state should be construed to mean that
we are *discouraging* the small-scale cultivation that is occurring
right now. We want that to continue. We want the state to support
small caregivers, as we mentioned in our statement, by not regulating
and taxing caregivers out of existence. This means growers too.
In our world, we consider growers as caregivers. Sorry if there
was some confusion. Of course, CTI will *always* support local growers/caregivers/farmers
and their rights under the Constitution.
Cannabis Therapy Institute
P.O. Box 19084
Boulder, CO 80308
Phone: (641) 715-3900 ext. 70966#