Colorado Government

New Medical Marijuana Regulations Take Effect on January 1

Cards and cardboard gravestones with the faces and names of medical marijuana patients left outside Jared Polis's office.
Cards and cardboard gravestones with the faces and names of medical marijuana patients left outside Jared Polis's office. courtesy of Bridget Dandara-Seritt
New marijuana regulations created by House Bill 1317 are set to take effect on January 1. But Cannabis Clinicians Colorado (CCC),a professional nonprofit supporting those who work with Colorado's medical marijuana patients, aren't eager to follow the new requirements.

As of January 1, adult patients will not be allowed to purchase more than 8 grams of medical marijuana concentrate per day, with patients ages eighteen to twenty allowed only 2 grams. Other key rules going into effect include the required use of a Uniform Certification Form by medical marijuana stores and providers to document exceptions allowing patients to buy more than their daily limit. And under another new requirement, all medical purchases must be recorded in-store through a new marijuana inventory tracking system. 

Patients and providers were so concerned with the provisions of 1317 that on July 1, nineteen-year-old medical marijuana patient Benjamin Wann sued Polis for signing the bill into law; soon after, a motion for preliminary injunction was filed in hopes of delaying implementation of the law. That request is still pending.

Earlier this month, CCC director Martha Montemayor sent a letter to the Colorado Attorney General's Office asking for help granting the injunction. "Should HB 1317 proceed without delay, approximately 7,000 current medical marijuana patients with extended plant counts and roughly 3,500 patients age 18-20 will suddenly need new documentation from their doctors on January 1, 2022, to continue getting their medicines," she wrote AG Phil Weiser. "If CDPHE [Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment] lacks the resources to implement the bill January 1, what happens to these patients?"

She repeated that question during an emergency CCC Zoom meeting on December 28. "The question is, what do we do to protect our patients and our practices in the future from more attacks like this bill?" Montemayor asked. Among other things, she suggested allowing doctors to make written alterations to their patient consent forms so that they are held harmless from their patients' "use or abuse of cannabis."

But without the injunction, there will be no time to make changes to the new regulations. So during the meeting, CCC members reviewed how to fill out the new Uniform Certification Forms with the changing THC dosage amounts and reviewed packaging requirements. And they prepared themselves for changes in a medical marijuana system that was once hailed as a leader in the nation and now seems to be going backward.

“The General Assembly delegated significant items for MED [Medical Enforcement Division] to tackle during rulemaking this year, and we wouldn’t have been successful without the active engagement and hands-on effort we received from our stakeholder community,” said Dominique Mendiola, MED senior director, in a reminder of the new rules issued December 30. “While parties didn’t always agree, the diverse perspectives of our stakeholders were critical to ensuring we ultimately got to a place of acceptable compromise that aligned with the legislative direction. But our work isn’t complete. We will continue to refine regulations and support the implementation of these new rules well into 2022 and beyond.”
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