After a long delay, the state Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division has begun implementing a private caregiver registry -- despite caregivers being handled by a separate government agency.
State law crafted in response 2010's House Bill 1284 requires the MMED to keep track of private caregiver grow locations -- a useless redundancy considering caregivers have been registered with the CDPHE since the MMJ program began in 2001.
This extra paperwork, as well as the inclusion of another government agency, surely won't go over well with already paranoid basement growers.
Add the fact that caregivers aren't licensed in any way by the MMED and the whole thing becomes absurd. It's just an additional level of useless information-collecting forced by paranoid legislators who crafted the rules while not paying attention to what laws were already in place.
I'm sure the cash-strapped MMED also loves dealing with the added responsibility of keeping records on caregivers who aren't even paying licensing fees to them.
It's not as if law enforcement lacks access to the preexisting health department data. Back in June, we wrote about a program that links the CDPHE and MMED databases with state law enforcement computers. So law enforcement already has access to this information. (For what it's worth, state officials have assured us that the information would only be available on demand by law enforcemers who need to verify the legality of a location).
And if that isn't enough to convince you that the form is unnecessary, there's the notice right at the top. It reads:
In accordance with C.R.S. §25‐1.5‐106(7)(e), a Caregiver who cultivates Medical Marijuana for his or her patients must register the location of that cultivation operation with the MMED. This information will be kept confidential and only provided to local government or a law enforcement agency upon receipt of an "address‐specific request for verification."
Continue to learn more about reaction to the new MMED program, as well as to see a copy of the caregiver form. Several activists have warned that this program would effectively end private caregivers in Colorado, and they may be right. The reaction around social media and among caregiver friends hasn't been positive. Several have said they don't plan on filing with the MMED and are considering dropping off the registry altogether.
The folks over at the ganja church Greenfaith Ministries have even been circulating a spoof of the form with "ILLEGAL -- I PLEAD THE FIFTH" scrawled across the page on a diagonal and "THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT ALREADY HAS THIS INFO. CONTACT THEM" filled in instead of patient and caregiver information.
Maybe it's time to start growing your own anyway. You don't have to register with the state as a caregiver for yourself, and when Amendment 64 goes into effect you won't even have to have a medical marijuana card to grow six plants (with only three in flower). Plus, you don't have to sign a medical dispensary up to be your primary center to shop there when you're running low on your own stash.
Here's a look at the form.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Amendment 64: John Hickenlooper setting up broad task force regarding marijuana measure" and "Amendment 64's passage to spur moratoriums against medical marijuana dispensaries?"