Tips for medical-marijuana dispensaries wanting to comply with new Board of Health ruling

The Colorado Court of Appeals ruling in the Stacey Clendenin case, which stated that medical-marijuana caregivers must do more than simply supply the product in question, led the state's board of health to strike its caregiver definition -- a move that's caused confusion and panic among medical-marijuana purveyors.

Into this maelstrom steps the Cannabis Therapy Institute, an advocacy group that's developed the Colorado Patients Services program -- a plan "designed to help caregivers provide other services to their patients," according to its website. As CTI points out, the court's insistence that caregivers "do more" is every bit as vague as the current laws anti-pot crusaders decry. But by signing up, dispensaries instantly begin to create the sort of paper trail that should help them prove compliance, or at least goodwill, no matter what local and state officials eventually decide. And while participants must pay a $100 fee, few will complain. After all, the medical-marijuana boom is as much about capitalism as it is about healthcare.

Get the details below:

Caregivers: Are you protected under the new law?

Colorado Patient Services Program Helps Caregivers "Do More" for Patients

The Cannabis Therapy Institute is excited to announce the Colorado Patients Services program, designed to help caregivers provide other services to their patients in accordance with the Court of Appeals recent ruling, which interpreted the definition of "primary care-giver" to mean that a caregiver must "do more" for his patients than simply provide medical marijuana. Colorado Patient Services can provide referrals for all the other caregiving services your patient may need, as well as provide you with a paper trail for each patient to help show your compliance with state law regarding this new ruling.

Legal Background

The Court of Appeals decision in Colorado v. Clendenin published on Oct. 29, 2009, stated:

"We conclude that the act of supplying marijuana for medical use, by itself, is insufficient to constitute significant management responsibility for a patient's well-being, and consequently is insufficient to constitutionally qualify a person doing so as a 'primary care-giver.'"

AND

"We conclude that to qualify as a 'primary care-giver' a person must do more than merely supply a patient who has a debilitating medical condition with marijuana."

The Board of Health adopted emergency rules on November 3, 2009 supporting this definition, and Attorney General John Suthers also says the state is operating under the new definition.

What We Do -- We Do More!

The Court of Appeals did not define exactly what it means for a caregiver to "do more" for his or her patients. That is why Colorado Patient Services was formed.

Colorado Patient Services is a large and growing referral network and patient resource service. Enrolling your patients in Colorado Patient Services will help caregivers create a detailed paper trail to prove to the state that they "do more" for their patients than supply medical marijuana, in accordance with the Colorado Court of Appeals opinion in the Clendenin case.

From acupuncture to housecleaning to transportation to patient advocacy to legal services, Colorado Patient Services provides referrals and services to medical cannabis patients through their caregivers. Our experienced patient advocates will guide your patients to getting the services and support they need. Our referral network focuses on supporting patient-owned businesses, so many of our services are patients helping patients, further empowering our community.

How it Works:

1) Download the enrollment packet.

2) The caregiver fills out the Caregiver Enrollment Application.

3) The caregiver fills out a Patient Enrollment Form for each patient and has the patient sign it in the appropriate places.

4) The caregiver faxes that application and enrollment forms to Colorado Patient Services at 1-877-420-4205. Caregivers must enroll their patients in this program. Patients cannot join the program directly.

5) Colorado Patient Services will contact the caregiver within 1 business day to let you know if you have been accepted to the program and will give you your CPS ID#.

6) We will then contact your patients and give them referrals for any of their further caregiving needs. Although this referral service is free to the patient, the services themselves usually have a separate cost that the patient will be responsible for paying. Our referral network is large and growing, and many of our providers give discounts for Colorado Patient Services members. Whatever your patient needs, we will help them find it!

7) Colorado Patient Services will maintain accurate and detailed records of contact with the caregivers' patients and provide the caregivers with monthly reports on the services that were provided for their patients. This paper trail will help prove your compliance with Colorado law.

Fees: This service is being offered at an introductory rate. The caregiver needs to pay a $100 application fee. Your final pricing structure will depend on the number of patients in the program.

Disclaimer: This information does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with your attorney.

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