It's been 48 days since I first wrote about sending in my application to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for my Medical Marijuana Registry card -- and still no sign of my new red card. The fact that they haven't even cashed my check yet leads me to believe my envelope is sitting sealed at the bottom of a bin somewhere.
Of course, there's no sign of rejection, either, which is a good thing considering that after 35 days, the law says your paperwork is as good as the real thing. But apparently I missed something the last time I wrote about that little loophole. In the same paragraph that validates paperwork after 35 days, there is language stating that applications can still be rejected at any time:
A patient who is questioned by any state or local law enforcement official about his or her medical use of marijuana shall provide a copy of the application submitted to the state health agency, including the written documentation and proof of the date of mailing or other transmission of the written documentation for delivery to the state health agency, which shall be accorded the same legal effect as a registry card, until such time as the patient receives notice that the application has been denied.
And according to CDPHE's "Where's my Card?" document, the wait time for rejections could be as long as three months. So I could still be rejected any time in the next 45 days or so. Great. While I have everything in order and don't have any concerns about being rejected for my card, it still is disconcerting to think that there's a possibility I might be using rejected paperwork because they are behind schedule on processing applications.
CDPHE spokesman Mark Salley said that department personnel try to get rejected applications back as soon as possible. However, the volume of applications and the backlog created has delayed that process.
Still, he says there's hope on the horizon: CDPHE is seing a decrease in the volume of applications to 700 per-day from roughly 1,000-per day last month. Salley also said that 33 new employees have been hired on to help tackle the estimated 78,500 applications that have piled up.
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By my admittedly-awful math, that means roughly 44,900 applications have backed up behind my application on July 1. That means you lucky folks who applied in the last week might actually see your cards in six months, as opposed to the eight months I was quoted.
Eight months, that is, if someone ever gets around to opening my letter...
By the way, be sure and check this space over the next two days, as I serve as guest news blogger for the Latest Word, filling in for Michael Roberts. I'll be sure to include a few ganja-centric posts along with the usual digital fish wrap.