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

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Empowers the State to determine "what constitutes good moral character," allowing the government, with all of its moral wisdom, to deny the right to be a caregiver to anyone that does not satisfy the moral judgment of the State. Like much of HB 1284, this grants far too much discretionary power to the State. Interestingly, there is no "good moral character" requirement for Members of the Legislature.

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Creates the Medical Marijuana Fashion Police, allowing the State to determine the "size, dimensions, and acceptable colors for a medical marijuana center sign..." It also prohibits the use of a logo, any form of branding, or depictions of the marijuana plant. I have previously stated that the community would accept some reasonable regulation of signage as a compromise position in exchange for concessions in other areas, and still believe this in theory, but at this point the totality of HB 1284 is far from reasonable. HB 1284 in its present form would be a crushing death blow to many patients in Colorado.

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This section provides that a person cannot refuse, even under the right to remain silent against self-incrimination, to provide testimony to the medical marijuana licensing authority. The Colorado State Legislature cannot repeal the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The immunity section does not cure the constitutional violation as the State Legislature cannot immunize a person against federal prosecution, and we have seen a newly aggressive federal government in the past weeks, with a rogue DEA agent even telling the Denver Post that "this is not medicine... Every dispensary is in violation of federal law... the day is coming when we arrest everybody," presumably even Colorado Department of Health officials or legislators for aiding and abetting this putative federal violation. Additionally, the immunity is only conferred on the testifying witness, so the information could be used against another defendant as well.

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This requires any growing location to post a sign on the planned medical marijuana location visible to all in the neighborhood, including children. This is a dangerous and open invitation for criminals to break in and steal the marijuana they think might be inside, and get shot or killed in the process. Medical marijuana locations should be discreet, especially now that the DEA proclaims it will "arrest everybody" associated with it. Any alternative rule harms children and infringes on public peace and safety. This requirement would drive medical marijuana back underground, all for the profit of criminal drug cartels, a development the evil DEA would welcome to justify its own increasingly irrelevant existence.

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Allows the locals and the State veto power based on the availability of medical marijuana outlets already existing. This anti-competitive provision confers a monopoly on the existing outlets, which harms patients and drives up costs. It removes incentives for good patient service if the existing outlets are guaranteed exclusion from competition. Shutting the door to new entrepreneurs, who might do a better job at a lower cost to patients, is un-American.

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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