Medical marijuana players prepare to (figuratively) storm the Capitol

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If Colorado dispensaries seem a little empty tomorrow, that's because anyone who's anyone in the business will likely be at the University of Denver, where Sensible Colorado, a drug-reform advocacy group, will be holding a stakeholder's meeting from 1 to 4 p.m. at DU's Student Forum, 2255 East Evans Avenue, to craft a unified political agenda for 2010.

The first industry-wide get-together of its kind, the free meeting is designed to ensure the voices of patients and dispensary owners are heard loud and clear as politicians move forward on developing statewide regulations, says Sensible Colorado executive director Brian Vicente. After the meeting, which will include panels featuring the likes of State Senator Pat Steadman, national marijuana policy adviser Steve Fox and prominent dispensary owner Wanda James, a list of agreed-upon consensus points will be sent to legislators around the state. While it's impossible to know what, exactly, will come out of a meeting of possibly hundreds of stakeholders, here are some of the topics Vicente says are likely to come up:

  • Creating a uniform statewide licensing program for both dispensaries and medical marijuana growers
  • Developing a uniform statewide sales tax
  • Allowing municipalities to regulate dispensaries without banning them outright
  • Creating a food and product labeling system along the lines of existing food-safety codes

And many more interesting issues may surface, too. As Vicente says, "We are really curious about what stakeholders have to say on this issue. This is really the first event of its kind that's trying to elicit broad-based input from people effected by these laws."

Considering the growing authority of the medical marijuana community, it likely won't be the last.

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