Medical marijuana patients scored a victory last week when the Colorado Board of Health rejected a change to state regulations on the subject. The change would have limited to five the number of patients that can be served by "caregivers," a nebulous group that includes an ever-increasing number of medical marijuana dispensaries.
But the vote created potential losers, too – namely, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which manages the state's medical marijuana registry.
It's estimated that there will be 15,000 patients on that registry by the end of 2009, up from 2,000 two years ago. To keep up, the state needs more manpower and more money, says State Registrar Ron Hyman.
Each new medical marijuana patient pays a $90 fee — which, if the prediction of 15,000 patients this year holds true, would add up to $1.35 million — but CDPHE can't tap into that money without the state legislature's blessing, says Colorado's chief medical officer, Ned Calonge. And lawmakers could decide to use the money for other purposes.
"We're still wrestling with what our options are," Calonge says.
The central question seems to be this: Can the state, mired in a budget crisis, afford to run its booming medical marijuana program? And after hearing the testimony of AIDS patients and Iraq War vets who rely on marijuana, can it afford not to?
For love and money: Amy Rubin, Denver's own love doctor, is big on the Internet, and this week, she'll get even bigger when a billboard featuring her online radio show, Amy's Heart, goes up just off of Colfax Avenue and Park Avenue West.
Dr. Rubin – who also runs www.FindingYourHeartsDesire.com, a combination inspirational advice/astrology/shopping website — isn't actually an M.D. No, she's just a single girl who spends her time trying to convince other single girls not to be so pathetic about their hunt for a man. Her message: Love yourself and others will follow. Last month, the blond bombshell did just that, appearing naked on the cover of Soul's Journey Magazine (put out by the folks behind the radio station).
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"The image is love goddess-y," Rubin said recently, admitting that she was initially worried about lying in a bed of roses in the nude but figured, "There's no reason in the world you can't be extraordinary on the outside and the inside."
Scene and herd: The White House could get a little taste of Denver if President Barack Obama is able to pull off a meeting over beers with Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge, Massachusetts, police sergeant James Crowley, who arrested Gates on July 16 for trying to break into his own home.
While Obama will have a Bud, Crowley has requested a Blue Moon, the now-ubiquitous Coors product created inside Coors Field at the Blue Moon Brewery at the Sandlot.
Sandlot brewer Tom Hail hadn't heard about the powwow or the beer choice, but he thinks it's cool. As for the reason Blue Moon may make it to the presidential palace, he laughs, "Don't give me any credit for that."