Medical marijuana: Rob Corry calls Dept. of Revenue draft regs "death by 1,000 cuts"

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When asked to synopsize his problems with the regs as written -- all 99 pages of them can be perused on the next page -- Corry says, "It's hard to pick out the more significant ones, because there are so many. But I think probably my greatest concern is the cameras.

"This is an intrusive, Orwellian proposal. Every single patient who comes into a center and purchases any amount of medicine has to place his or her registry card on an overhead projector, and that person's name, address, Social Security number, the amount of the purchase and where they live will all be recorded. And there may be some discussion of confidential medical issues and how the medication affects the patient. All of this will be publicly accessible and subject to being hacked by a criminal enterprise. And any police officer at any level -- federal, state or local -- can obtain either live video or on-demand recordings and track these people down."

For people who live in Denver, he believes this prospect "may be slightly less scary. But if you live in a small town where everybody knows everybody else and the local sheriff knows exactly where and when you purchased medical marijuana and details about your private medical history... Well, that's just beyond the pale."

As a result of such surveillance, Corry believes "you going to see patients opting out of the center system: going back to caregivers or going underground. People who've started centers, very well-intentioned people, have invested thousands, and in some cases hundreds of thousands, to set up these centers and comply with expensive requirements. And these people are going to be left out in the cold, because their patient base is going to be voting against these regulations with their wallets and with their feet. Dozens of patients have told me they're no longer going to be shopping at centers if they're going to be filmed and their local law enforcement officer will be watching them while they're getting their medication."

The cameras are only one of the elements of the regulations that concern Corry. "The overall tone reveals an intent to overrule the Colorado constitution, which as a legal matter cannot happen," he argues. "Standing alone, some of the regulations may seem reasonable. But the cumulative effect of things like perpetual labeling and filing a document anytime you transport medical marijuana is going to be death by a thousand cuts, especially for smaller centers. They simply don't have the resources to label everything and consult the government anytime they want to go to the bathroom."

His conclusion? "This is too much, too soon. We need to let the industry grow and flourish and then look at some limited regulations."

Page down to read Corry's entire letter to the Department of Revenue, as well as the most recent draft of the regulations:

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts