Medical marijuana lobbyists out in force during HB 1043 committee hearing (PHOTOS)

With medical marijuana clean-up bill HB 1043 under scrutiny from U.S. Attorney John Walsh, it's no surprise that the medical marijuana lobbyists were out in force when the measure went before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. Representatives of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group spoke to the committee, as did co-sponsor Senator Pat Steadman, supportive colleague Nancy Spence and unhappy members of law enforcement.

At this writing, the text of HB 1043 doesn't bear any changes from yesterday's efforts. But several tweaks are expected -- including a revamping of the section approving grows of 500 plants or more for infused-product manufacturers. This provision prompted a direct objection from U.S. Attorney Walsh, and according to the Cannabis Therapy Institute's Laura Kriho, who monitored the proceedings, Thomas Raynes, executive director for the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, made specific reference to the federal prosecution threshold of 100 plants.

Deputy Attorney General Michael Dougherty also emphasized that his office was only in limited support of 1043, given that Colorado is "operating in clear violation of federal law," Kriho says.

The heavy MMIG presence didn't cheer Kriho, who feels the organization is more focused on business interests than patients and caregivers -- an allegation MMIG has repeatedly refuted. "Whether or not medical marijuana center applicants in Colorado are part of MMIG or not, they're being represented by them," she maintains, "because they're failing to take part in the political process."

Look below to see photos from yesterday's hearing by Kathleen Chippi of the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana cultivation no different than other pot grows, says U.S. Attorneys Office."

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