Medical marijuana patients getting scholarships from local group to pay expenses

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Later today, seventeen scholarships will be handed out at a local venue. No, it's not a graduation ceremony at a high school or college. Rather, the event will take place amid an evening of education and entertainment sponsored by Colorado Patients Out of Time, an organization that patient advocate Jason Lauve thinks is on the way to becoming a major presence on the MMJ scene.

As we noted in this December 2009 post, Lauve is the editor of Cannabis Health News Magazine, as well as the person at the center of what members of the medical marijuana community see as a key legal case. Lauve broke his back in 2004 after being hit by a snowboarder. He subsequently became a medical marijuana patient, but he was arrested in Boulder County for allegedly having too much of the material -- two pounds, two ounces. But he was ultimately acquitted of the charges against him when a jury concluded that the language in Amendment 20, the measure that legalized medical marijuana in Colorado, was vague when it came to designating how much cannabis could be seen as medically necessary.

Since then, Lauve has become one of the area's foremost patient advocates, and this sensibility underpins Colorado Patients Out of Time. The group is an affiliate with Patients Out of Time, a national organization that describes itself as "a compassionate, science-based educational forum for the restoration of medical cannabis knowledge," and Lauve says, "Our goal is to give scholarships to patients who are in need."

Specifically, the organization arranges to cover the cost of a doctor visit and a red card from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, either through fundraising or donations from physicians, etc.

Today's event, which takes place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Jake's Food and Spirits, 3800 Walnut Street, won't mark the first awarding of scholarships. Lauve points out that about a dozen were bestowed last month. But the gathering is intended to build alliances as well as help individuals in need.

"It's a new relationship with the industry," he says. "We're hoping organizations will start to come to us for those deeper relationships with patients and broader-reaching audiences."

The evening will feature music by Burnt Lips and talks by Dr. Alan Shackelford and Josh Stanley, who's spotlighted in the National Geographic series American Weed. There'll also be a food bar and the chance to win door prizes for those who attend (cover is $5). Still, the biggest moment will be the awarding of scholarships to the seventeen patients. Says Lauve, whose photo above comes courtesy of photographer Kim Sidwell, "We really think we have patients' best interests at heart."

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More from our Politics archive: "Hemp study bill could open doors for Colorado industrial hemp production."

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