As part of a Medical Marijuana Day of Action prompted by U.S. Attorney John Walsh's seizure letters to 23 dispensaries near schools, the Medical Marijuana Assistance Program of America (MMAPA) held a rally outside the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, whose approach to allegedly fraudulent MMJ license applications could leave hundreds of patients in limbo for six months or longer. Around 25 demonstrators, including MMAPA members, came out in support.
MMAPA's founder Vincent Palazzotto led the rally. "We're calling on our representatives to say that medical marijuana patients really have a voice in what's happening," he says. "Six months for patients to have to wait for their medicine while the CDPHE understands exactly what's happening from a patients perspective -- I think it's an atrocity. It delegitimizes the industry and the patients, who rely on this as medicine to regain that quality of life."
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Other supporters included Thomas Bowler, owner of Med Stop LLC, one of the dispensaries that's received Walsh's letter.
"I've worked with the local police who are stationed within the schools," Bowler says, adding that "if there's ever an incident" with students he's caught smoking marijuana behind his store, "I'll call the officer at the Denver West. He comes over, reviews the video cameras, and they kind of know who it is. But that's it. I won't be doing that in the future, because our store won't be there anymore."
For the health department's perspective on license denials and rejections, read our interview with CDPHE director Dr. Chris Urbina.