Pubdate: Tue,  5 Jun 2001
Source: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Redding Record Searchlight - E.W. Scripps
Kevin Flynn, Rocky Mountain News
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Amendment 20 (CO))


DENVER - Charles Alcon sees a growth industry in Colorado's new medical
marijuana program.

Drawing on his past experience of growing marijuana in his closet, he
figures he can be a consultant to Coloradans for whom it is now legal to
possess a small amount of marijuana.

"Everybody's trying to get on the bandwagon and trying to figure out how
they can sell medical marijuana," said Alcon, 39, of Aurora, Colo. "But
I'm going to show them how to grow it."

For a fee of $100, he'll provide several consultations and a home visit.

"When you're alone with no resources and no one wants to talk to you,
you're left with the books and the magazines," he said. "That's where I
would fill in."

Under a new program authorized by Colorado voters last fall in a
constitutional amendment, people with illnesses that bring chronic pain
or nausea can possess up to two ounces of marijuana and up to six
plants, no more than three in flower at a time.

To be eligible, the person must obtain a doctor's signature on an
opinion that using marijuana might help ease the pain or increase the
appetite. While disputed by the mainstream medical community, many
patients say smoking marijuana helps mitigate their pain and nausea.

Some AIDS patients, for example, report that marijuana helps increase
their appetites, which suffer from side effects of AIDS treatments.

Under the new law, while it is legal to possess marijuana if approved
for the state registry, it is still illegal to buy it. It is against
federal law to possess even a small amount, though prosecutions are

Alcon grew his own marijuana with a two-chambered hydroponic system with
lights and a nutrient flow set on timers.

He said it took several years to get it right, but the result was better
stuff than he could get on the street. He said he no longer grows it,
but he would give that knowledge to medical marijuana users for his fee.

"I'll go over a few things I think are important," he said. "Special
lights, ebb-and-flow reservoir. I may help them choose what seeds to

Ken Lane, spokesman for Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar, said
people who help marijuana growers could be charged with aiding and
abetting a crime. But since a person on the state registry has an
affirmative defense against a marijuana possession charge, it's unclear
whether a "consultant" could be charged with a crime.

(Scripps Howard News Service)
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