Medical marijuana committee session has room for all -- especially after a dozen people split

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Roughly 75 people attended the Department of Revenue's Medical Marijuana Advisory committee meeting this morning. Despite fears from the Cannabis Therapy Institute that there wouldn't be enough space in the board room, everyone who wanted a seat had one. But some people gave theirs up early.

The committee consists of patients, caregivers, dispensary owners, lawyers and representatives from city governments and law enforcement, and is tasked with sifting through proposed rules that define HB 1284, the medical marijuana regulatory measure signed by Governor Bill Ritter earlier this year. The group has already come under some scrutiny for initially trying to do things behind closed doors and for selecting Ken Weaver, convicted airplane thief, as a committee member (he subsequently resigned).

Through the first hour and a half of today's meeting, the group managed to trudge through only two of the rules -- mostly getting hung up on small wording choices. For example, a sentence about arresting dispensary employees for violating rules came before a sentence about officers having the authority to also simply issue a ticket. Because some felt that implied the harsher treatment should come first, it caused a twenty-minute-long semantic debate.

The group then got stuck on how to streamline the process by which someone can petition the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division for a "statement of position" on any of the rules and how they can be applied. Some felt the idea of posting the petitions on the website wasn't enough and wanted the state to maintain an e-mail list to notify any interested party. Then someone brought up RSS feeds and lost half the committee. Cook eventually moved both discussions on by suggesting committee members who have issues with the language come up with proposals and bring them to subsequent meetings.

By the time the group broke at 11 a.m., at least a dozen audience members had left and several committee members looked like they wanted to do the same. Though a technical problem kept them from streaming the meeting live, representatives from Coloradans for Medical Marijuana Regulation filmed the meeting and said it would be up soon to view.

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