Rob Corry calls latest Tom Massey-Chris Romer medical marijuana bill a "multi-layered bureaucratic monstrosity"

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Creates the powerful "Medical Marijuana Licensing Authority," consisting of one government official, namely the Executive Director of the Department of Revenue, which has many powers including issuing subpoenas and administering oaths. Placing this much power in the hands of a single government bureaucrat is unwise. Our system is based on checks and balances. This section also empowers this single bureaucrat unfettered discretion to hire an army of agents. In these times where our state government is literally bankrupt, we cannot afford to create an additional expensive and unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.

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Creates a multilayered bureaucracy and gives local governments a veto over whether a medical marijuana center may exist, by providing that no state license can be issued without first obtaining local approval. Many local governments in Colorado have already demonstrated hostility to suffering patients and their needs. Local governments, with a few exceptions, have generally shown by their own arrogant and illegal actions (see Frasher v. City of Centennial, Arapahoe District Court 2009, which I litigated, successfully striking down an illegal local prohibition on medical marijuana) that they cannot be trusted to exercise any reasonable discretion on this issue. Of course locals should retain neutral zoning power as to location of businesses, but nothing more. Giving these local bureaucracies any more power is an invitation to them to continue to discriminate against suffering patients, and will continue the confusing patchwork of inconsistent local regulations throughout the State. Instead, the Legislature should expressly pre-empt all of the local regulations with a uniform and fair set of standards.

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Requires the State of Colorado to request the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to consider rescheduling marijuana from a Schedule I controlled substance to a Schedule II controlled substance. First, DEA does not set the schedules; rescheduling would need to be accomplished by Congress since the schedules are enshrined in the U.S. Code. See 21 U.S.C. § 812. Second, the Colorado has its own scheduling scheme for controlled substances independent of the federal designations, and the Colorado Revised Statutes itself currently lists tetrahydrocannabinols (THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, but not marijuana itself) as a Schedule I substance, i.e., one that lacks any medically-accepted use. See C.R.S. § 18-18-203(2)(c)(XXIII). This designation makes no sense in light of the Colorado Constitution, Article XVIII § 14, which establishes the medically accepted use. So before the Colorado Assembly tilts against windmills with the federal government, it should keep its own house in order and reschedule THC away from Schedule I in the Colorado Revised Statutes.

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Empowers State to establish practices to avoid an "undue" increase in the consumption of medical marijuana. The State should not practice medicine. The State has no knowledge of the particular medical needs of each patient. The State is never in the position to discern what is a so-called "undue" increase in consumption and should not be empowered to micromanage a patient's medication. The patient, caregiver, and physician know best on amounts medically necessary, and the constitution allows a patient to use whatever amount is medically necessary. Article XVIII § 14(4).

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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