The time has finally come.
My battered, torn and frayed red card expired on the 13th, forcing me to join the club of thousands of doctors-recommendation-carrying medical patients waiting for a card.
I was lucky last year to only have a three-week wait before receiving my card, and since I had a caregiver, I never had to use my paperwork to buy at a dispensary in that interim. This time around is different. With wait times exceeding six months, it is unavoidable.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment website, the CDPHE will cash my check "as soon as possible," though it may still take four-to-five months after cashing the check to get my card. The department also says the wait time for a new card or card renewal is "within seven to eight months." I sent in my application on July 1, so give or take a few days to go through the system (plus the holiday weekend), it likely reached the CDPHE no later than July 8.
And according to department statistics, nearly 1,000 applications showed up that day, too.
Mark Salley, spokesman for CDPHE, says that if applications are not rejected within 35 days and sent back to the patient, they have been processed and patients can use copies of their doctor's recommendation, state application and proof of mailing just as they would their registry card. With a backlog of more than 64,000 patients, however, the department is now estimating wait times as long as eight months.
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Salley notes that the department has gotten approval to hire more than fifty temporary employees to help with the backlog. But he admits that only a few people have been hired on so far.
I took my paperwork out for a test drive yesterday to get some edibles. I've been told about places that won't take paperwork, and others that require a receipt proving the paperwork has been mailed out. And I've also heard some places simply don't care -- so I was a bit apprehensive when I walked in the door of Discount Medical Marijuana on Colfax.
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Thankfully, the guy behind the counter was friendly and recognized how much of a clusterfuck the system is right now. Since I had been in before, he accepted my paperwork sans a mailing receipt, though the manager said some places likely would turn me away because of it.
Hopefully not too many places, though -- or I might have a hard time doing my job for the next few months.