As one of the authors of California's Proposition 215, which sanctioned medical cannabis for the first time in the United States, as well as several legal handbooks, Michael Malott has a unique perspective on the medical marijuana laws that have been passed since.
And he's just published a book that takes a look at this state's laws: The Colorado Medical Marijuana Handbook.
Mile Highs and Lows recently caught up with Malott, who talked about the differences between Colorado and other states, and why he thinks Colorado's regulatory system has kept the feds at bay (so far).
Pointing to Drug Enforcement Administration raids last fall in California, Washington and Montana, Mallot believes Colorado has been spared so far because our medical marijuana laws are enshrined in our state constitution, unlike every other state that allows for medical cannabis. "One thing that people don't realize is that it is a privilege, not a right, in a lot of these states," he notes. "In Colorado, it's a right." (Side note: It's a right, just not a fundamental right, according to a court's ruling in September.)
But Malott also cites House Bill 1284, which set up the current regulatory scheme for Colorado medical marijuana dispensaries and caregivers, as another reason that Colorado has been left alone for the most part. "I believe Colorado is one of the best-regulated states that has medical marijuana in place at this time," Malott says. "And I believe the regulation has been, overall, a good thing. Take a look at Michigan. Basically, they approved the law without giving it any forethought. It allowed anyone to open a dispensary, for profit, without any regulations on background checks or what have you. You had the good ol' boys who were in the black market running to Home Depot to grab a 'Yes, We Are Open' sign. There's not a lot of abuse of the system [in Colorado] as compared to other states."
In California, for example, he notes that grows are less regulated and dispensaries are still allowed to buy from pretty much any grower who walks in off the street. That system has been abused over the years, with thousands of pounds of marijuana flowing out of state, while Colorado regulations make it harder for centers to sell their products anywhere other than off their shelves. "Colorado has been very efficient at self-regulating," Malott adds.
Malott's book covers both federal law and Colorado law, how to sterilize your marijuana for consumption, as well as an encyclopedia of marijuana strains descriptions and photographs. Although it's not really light reading, it's a pretty decent desk reference of all of the existing state laws for those of you who haven't already printed them out a million times from the state website like we usually do. You can pick up a copy of The Colorado Medical Marijuana Handbook at Amazon.com or a handful of local dispensaries
More from our Marijuana archive. "Medical marijuana edibles reviews: Standing Akimbo mixes medicine with childhood memories" and "Marijuana attorney says dispensaries near schools could survive scrutiny from feds."
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