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Med. marijuana patient red card wait: 60 days & counting even though check cashed a month ago

Although Colorado Department of Health spokesman Mark Salley says red card renewal time for medical marijuana patients remains under 35 days, we keep hearing different stories. For instance, one patient tells us she's been waiting more than two months for her card despite the fact that the state cashed her check in early October.

The woman, who speaks on condition of anonymity, got her first medical marijuana red card in October 2009. She uses cannabis to ease neck and back pain and migraines she's suffered since getting into an auto accident four years ago. According to her, Advil Migraine and other prescription medication addresses her pain, but not the muscle tension in her shoulders that causes her headaches. In contrast, MMJ eases the pain and helps prevent or diminish the severity of future attacks -- plus, it's natural, and that fits better with her lifestyle.

Knowing that her card expired during the first week of October, the patient sent in her renewal information, including a doctor's recommendation, via certified mail on September 13. In early October, her check was cashed, suggesting that the card would be in her hands shortly. But no: At this writing, it still hasn't arrived.

During the past few weeks, the patient says she's phoned the CDPHE help line three times. The first two occasions, she left messages after being assured she'd be contacted within three business days. However, no calls came. So, for her third attempt, she insisted on chatting with someone right away. At that time, the woman with whom she spoke said her application was still under review and she should hear something within thirty days. That would push her total wait time to three months -- shy of the eight-month delays that struck last year, but far slower than promised.

How isolated is this scenario? Consider the case of William Breathes, our medical marijuana reviewer. He sent in his renewal 27 days ago, and when he called the help line this morning, he was told processing time is now a minimum of 35 days, not including mailing time.

Yes, his check has already been cashed, too.

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More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana card fees to drop, if that's okay with you."


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