Ask a Stoner

Is all pot touched by patients considered medical?

Dear Stoner: It's legal to grow up to six plants and gift an ounce of herb to anyone 21 and up, and it's legal to buy it in a store. But is it illegal for patients to share product given to them or purchased from a store? Once a product touches the hands of a patient, does it become de facto medical?
WSP Brad

Dear Brad: The answer really comes down to semantics — and whether or not you're a stickler for the rules. Under the law, it is illegal to share medicine purchased from a medical marijuana facility or given to you by your caregiver with anyone else — including other medical marijuana patients.

But being a patient doesn't automatically make pot medical. If herb was gifted to a medical patient by a non-medical grower and used recreationally, then it would be recreational pot, and that would be legal. But if the patient used the pot medically, then it might be in some strange legal gray area and not be legally shareable. But that sounds more like an excuse you give friends who are out of pot than an actual crime that would be prosecuted by even the most conservative of Colorado courts.

Stoner: What is up with these recreational pot prices? Did we time-warp back to the '90s?
Five and Dimed

Dear Dimed: There's plenty of justification coming from dispensary owners for this. They have to pay off licensing, try to combat people shipping herb out of state, cover for the excise tax levied on them, and whatever else they can come up with. But anyone who sold a little pot in college can figure out that selling $50 eighths of herb a quarter-ounce at a time quickly pays off the $450 tax on a $3,000 pound of pot. The 18 percent sales taxes forced on consumers in cities like Denver doesn't do much to placate people, either.

Another claim from some owners is that they're matching out-of-state prices. Some have even said that they're gearing their operations more toward tourists than local consumers. But out-of-state voters didn't approve Amendment 64, and tourism alone won't sustain this industry. Prices will drop sooner rather than later, or the black market that the industry says it's trying to prevent out of state is simply going to thrive in-state — and put the retail shops out of business. Thankfully, we're already seeing some price wars, with shops selling $35 to $40 eighths. We even talked to one that plans to keep its prices at $25 an eighth and $200 an ounce when it goes recreational — which could really shake things up.

That, or everyone will just start growing their own — which we highly suggest anyway.

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William Breathes
Contact: William Breathes