Medical marijuana: Health dept. draft rules may not be ready in time for rule-making session

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Advocates like Medical Marijuana Assistance Program of the Rockies' Vincent Palazzotto believe new health department rules could be devastating for patients and caregivers.

But they'll have to wait to find out what they are until next year.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's medical marijuana advisory committee met yesterday afternoon for their last scheduled session before the state's board of health starts hammering out rules on January 19. However, members left needing to schedule one more meeting to finish the debate.

Through nearly two hours of discussion, the members, who represent law enforcement, physicians, patients and the MMJ industry, were unable to agree on language defining what restrictions on medical licenses would prevent physicians from writing medical marijuana prescriptions and where they would be able to operate. The group was also set to discuss what responsibilities a medical marijuana caregiver should have but ran out of time before getting to the issue.

The committee spent the lion's share of the meeting discussing how the board of health should evaluate adding new medical conditions to those doctors can currently recommend for medical marijuana. Several officials with the board of health, the Colorado Medical Board and other medical societies spoke about current standards. Among them was Dr. Elizabeth Stuyt, medical director of the Circle Program drug rehab facility in Pueblo, who got a laugh from the mostly pro-marijuana crowd when she stated fears that the only way to relieve chronic pain with marijuana is to smoke three joints per day.

Committee chairwoman Dr. Lisa Miller said the group would try to gather again before the health board's the aforementioned January 19 assembly. However, if members were not able to get together then, she added, the agenda items could still be added to the meeting on the 19th and discussed on January 27 at the next scheduled advisory committee session. The rules would then have to be approved at subsequent board of health meetings.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana & flying: If paperwork checks out, Denver Police and the TSA say, 'Get high.'"

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