For about a week starting last week, the e-mail system by which MMJ businesses send in their travel manifests and receive confirmation from the state has been down.
The problem is causing quite the backup in dispensary warehouses.
Colorado law requires that all deliveries to and from dispensaries and grow houses be registered with the Colorado Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division. The logic behind this rule? If a grower headed for a dispensary is pulled over while transporting several pounds of marijuana, he has a travel manifest that can be easily verified by law enforcement.
I learned this firsthand last week when I stopped by Back to the Garden and found the shop's supply down to stems and shake -- hardly enough to review. The budtender on duty told me the center had product waiting at the warehouse but didn't want to break the laws by transporting it without approval.
The budtender also shared a rumor that the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division site had been maliciously hacked. But the real answer turns out to be much more mundane.
According to Department of Revenue spokesman Mark Couch, the shutdown was caused by a larger, statewide transfer of e-mail accounts over to Google Mail. Previously, the travel-manifest system had automatically replied to e-mails to confirm they were received. When the state moved over to Gmail, though, the mailbox for the travel manifests was accidentally shut down.
Until that's fixed, MMJ business can fax their travel manifests to the MMED for confirmation, Couch says.
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But Jessica LeRoux, owner of Twirling Hippie Confections, says the backup system isn't working, either. Under state law, the MMED has 24 hours to respond to faxed travel manifests -- but she says she's sent seven sets of faxes over the past five days and has yet to receive any response from the MMED other than a standard fax receipt notice.
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MMED officials had told LeRoux that a notice would be placed on the MMED website explaining the e-mail outage on Monday, she says. As of 12:30 today, though, no notice had been posted. However, several dispensary owners say they received a note today from the MMED listing a new e-mail address, as well as other ways to submit travel manifests. From a dispensary manager:
We just received word from the MMED that we currently have three options on what to do with the manifests:
1) Fax it in. (You should receive a response, although the wait time is unknown.)
2) Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
3) Print the manifest and keep it in your records in case the MMED wants to look at it later down the road.
We just wanted to update you all to reduce any stress or anxiety that's been caused by this situation.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Amendment 64 supported, attacked by religious leaders in ongoing endorsement war" and "Marijuana: Why ex-drug warriors hate Amendment 64, other drug initiatives."