Senator Chris Romer's bill about the relationship between doctors and medical marijuana patients rolls on -- and advocates such as Matt Brown of Coloradans for Medical Marijuana Regulation don't see it as especially onerous.
To put it mildly, that view isn't shared by the folks at the Cannabis Therapy Institute. Many of the group's members, including patients with serious medical conditions, testified against the measure yesterday, only to watch the House judiciary committee pass it on a unanimous vote. Afterward, CTI released a jeremiad declaring that the bill would harm patients and rack up unnecessary costs for taxpayers.
Oh yeah: The group also referred to Representative Tom Massey's bill to regulate the medical marijuana industry as an "H-bomb." Catch the fireworks below:
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Senate Bill 109: the Million-Dollar Witch Hunt
SB109 passed the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, by a unanimous vote. Patients were forced to wait for up to 8 hours to testify, and many of them went home sick to take their medicine, while they still can.
SB109 will harm patients by forcing the price of their physician's exams up and by forcing the government into the patient-physician relationship in a way never before seen in this country. No other medicine or herbal substance is regulated in such a harsh manner, and no other practitioner or user of any herbal medicine has been as persecuted and discriminated against as much as those who use or recommend cannabis. Since cannabis is the safest therapeutically-active substance known to man and a wise choice for people wanting to wean themselves off of dangerous narcotics, this makes the situation even more tragic.
The updated Fiscal Note on the bill, just released on 2/4, shows SB109 will cost the state over $1 million, most of it to prosecute physicians. http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2010a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/AA035E5DDDFB3136872576A8002B8BBD?Open&file=SB109_r1.pdf
The state already has a system to investigate and prosecute physicians through the Board of Medical Examiners. Why is an entirely new and expensive regulatory regime needed? Can the state afford $1 million in this time of economic crisis?
Furthermore, why is the state spending so much money when the alleged "fraud and deceit" going on in the industry hasn't even been proven? Law enforcement has supplied nothing except anecdotal evidence that there is a problem. Where are the studies? The state insists on holding cannabis users to a higher standard than users of any other substance, demanding that they produce more studies and more research with every other breath. State lawmakers insist that cannabis users must *prove* that they are in *real pain* and *prove* than cannabis is the only thing that works for them, yet the state is not required to *prove* that there really is a problem with fraudulent physicians that will require over $1 million in taxpayer money to fix.
Cannabis advocates also have anecdotal evidence that the real problem is that patients are still getting arrested, prosecuted, losing their jobs, their houses and their families. Senator Romer promised patients in December that he would fix the patients' #1 concern for 10 years and give law enforcement 24/7 access to the Registry, so that patients wouldn't have to go to jail on nights and weekends when the Registry is closed. The Registry system is so ineffective that police can't call to verify someone's status after hours, yet instead of using patient fees to fix that, they will use the patient's money to prosecute their physicians. It's a million dollar witch hunt, and it's just the beginning.
Rep. Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs) just released the medical marijuana H-bomb bill yesterday that law enforcement has been working on for months. This bill, as yet unnumbered, would harm patients in dozens of more ways. http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/bills/massey.lawenforcementbill01.pdf
Colorado lawmakers haven't even tried to pretend that they care about cannabis patients. They are so afraid of this herbal medicine and bullied by law enforcement that they aren't even acting with common courtesy anymore. There has been no discussion with patients, and no attempts to adopt any of their concerns.
One citizen testified today about the lack of concern for patients. He said one of the slogans for the disabled community is "Nothing about us without us." He encouraged the lawmakers to actually work with patients and form a commission to study the real problems. He was disgusted that the lawmakers acted so callously and with so little compassion for the people whose lives they would actually affect, who are already suffering, sick and dying. http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/advocacy/contact.colorado.state.legislature.html
SB109 is now headed to the full House for amendments and a vote, so call your House member as soon as you can. The #1 thing lawmakers need right now is education. They all still think taking a Marinol pill is somehow equivalent to having the benefit of over 70 cannabinoids in over 10,000 different strains, and they all think that smoking cannabis is the only way to use it, so education needs to happen on a very basic level.
We are encouraging patients, caregivers, and advocates to contact their House and Senate members and open a dialogue with them about cannabis and compassion. Their education is clearly going to be a long-term project.
Contact Colorado General Assembly http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/advocacy/contact.colorado.state.legislature.html