Medical marijuana banking and Sen. Pat Steadman on menu for MMAPA breakfast

Love some wake-and-bake continental breakfast with a little marijuana politics on a Saturday morning? You're in luck.

Senator Pat Steadman will be speaking tomorrow at the new offices of the Medical Marijuana Assistance Program of America (MMAPA) for the nonprofit's open-house breakfast.

Steadman has been working with MMAPA founder Vincent Palazotto on a proposal that would earmark a portion of the medical marijuana patient registry fees for research and education, as well as to create a call center for patients in need of social services. Money would be distributed in the form of grants from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

"People who find out they have cancer and life-changing diseases, they aren't just asking, 'Where can I get a joint?'" Palazotto points out. "They're crying. It's rough. They need to be connected to a crisis path that allows them to get help."

Steadman has also been in discssions with various people around the state about starting a medical marijuana credit union of sorts to help ease some of the banking issues the community has been facing.

The breakfast is also a chance for MMAPA to show off its new offce space. The organization has joined up with about a half-dozen other medical marijuana enterprises -- including medical marijuana attorney Warren Edson, John Doe Radio, KUSH and Canna Labs -- to become tenants in a small office building just off Colorado Boulevard in south Denver.

"We joke that it's a one-stop shop for a raid. But really, it's been great," Palazotto says. "I mean, we started in a garage downtown. Now we feel like we're home."

And with a larger home comes more family. MMAPA was started in 2009 as a way of helping poor and indigent patients in Colorado get access to alternatives treatments and medicine and doctors who would prescribe them. The organization has since expanded its outreach services to patients in other medical marijuana states.

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To service all those patients, Palazotto has brought on a new community-outreach program director as well as seven college interns to help with everything from office management to staffing events. "A lot of folks look at us and see the brand and see us at events, and they think we're bigger than we really are," he explains. "But it's really been just a core three or four folks who have been running this."

The MMAPA Town Hall Meeting and Breakfast Social will run from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. November 19 at the new MMAPA offices, 3888 East Mexico Avenue; it's open to all.

More from our marijuana archives: "Med. marijuana: Just because William Breathes got his card doesn't mean all's right with registry;" "Medical marijuana: 10 years for Cheeba Chews in Japan? Western states aren't much kinder."

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