Pubdate: Sun, 21 Mar 2010
Source: Pueblo Chieftain (CO)
Copyright: 2010 The Pueblo Chieftain
Author: Patrick Malone


DENVER -- Municipalities throughout Colorado have been awaiting
direction from the State Capitol on how to manage the burgeoning
medicinal marijuana industry.

In particular, two bills being considered in the state Legislature
will guide local government through the maze. They deal with the
regulation of dispensaries (HB1284) and doctor-patient relationships

"We're trying to create a more controlled environment," said Rep. Sal
Pace, D-Pueblo. "We want to make it so that the med-icinal marijuana
that's grown is all accounted for, that these businesses
(dispensaries) look more like a provider of medicine and less like
head shops."

The House Judiciary Committee is reviewing HB1284, which calls for
local control over licensing dispensaries, background checks for
prospective dispensary owners, limits to five the number of patients a
caregiver can have, requires two doctors to recommend a license for
patients younger than 21 and creates a state medical marijuana
licensing authority similar to the one that governs liquor in the
Department of Revenue.

Pace sits on the House Judiciary Committee, where he said more changes
are likely to be added to the bill. One that he intends to propose
this week is that $2.5 million annually from state sales tax on
medical marijuana be devoted to drug and alcohol treatment.

Under SB109, doctors who recommend medical marijuana to patients would
not be allowed to have financial relationships with dispensaries, work
out of them or be paid to generate referrals. Also, it would require a
physical examination of a patient before issuance of a medicinal
marijuana recommendation.

The Senate must approve amendments made in the House to SB109. If
approved, it will be passed on to the governor for approval before
becoming law.

"Overall, what we're trying to do this session with medical marijuana
is protect local control and put some reasonable limitations on it,"
Pace said. "We're putting sideboards and regulation around the
patient-doctor relationship and also around the sale and

"The net result is that patients who are eligible for medicinal
marijuana will have a safe, professional environment. Disreputable
actors will be forced out of the industry." 
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