Medical marijuana bill coming this afternoon to move away from dispensaries to clinics, call for one year "time out"

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The medical marijuana community has been filled with a mix of anticipation and dread in regard to the contents of a measure being assembled by Representative Tom Massey intended to regulate the industry. Many fear what's become known as the law-enforcement bill will limit the number of patients per caregiver to five, thereby essentially destroying the dispensary model.

Well, the waiting game is almost over. Massey will hold a press conference about the bill at 1:30 p.m. this afternoon -- and a knowledgeable source says the results are apt to look closer to the original draft assembled by Senator Chris Romer than Colorado Attorney General John Suthers's dream legislation. The headline items: a one year "time out" to allow the industry to get organized and a shift away from dispensaries and toward clinics and health centers.

Regarding the question of a caregiver limit, the source says the bill will establish a distinction between regulated and unregulated providers of medical marijuana. The regulated ones -- the aforementioned clinics and health centers, which would presumably provide a wide range of medical services -- would be able to serve a large number of people, perhaps reaching the four-digit mark. Moreover, the clinics would likely be required to grow as much as 90 percent of their own product, in an effort to make tracking it that much straight-forward.

As for unregulated providers, a much stricter limit of patients per caregiver is anticipated.

A big debate during the creation of the bill was whether the clinics and health centers should be for-profit or nonprofit. The source isn't certain about the final decision on that question or another one with constitutional implications -- a possible prohibition on advertising and signage.

We'll know all soon enough. In the meantime, look below for a press release from the Colorado Senate Democrats about the press conference and the bipartisan group supporting the bill:

Second medical marijuana bill introduced tomorrow

DENVER -- Wednesday, cosponsors Senator Chris Romer (D-Denver) and Representative Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs) will hold a press conference to discuss the second medical marijuana bill which will be introduced in the House tomorrow. This bill, cosponsored by Representatives Tom Massey and Ken Summers and Senators Chris Romer and Josh Penry, will focus on regulating medical marijuana dispensaries.

WHAT: Press Conference on medical marijuana

WHEN: 1:30pm, Wednesday, February 3

WHERE: 3rd floor press room, State Capitol

WHO: Senator Chris Romer (D-Denver)

Representative Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs)

Other legislators may attend

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