Earlier this month, we told you about medical marijuana attorney Rob Corry's shredding of Senator Chris Romer's draft bill to regulate the medical marijuana industry -- an action that predated Romer's decision to withdraw the legislation.
Since then, Representative Tom Massey has taken on the chore of assembling a bill to regulate the industry -- one likely to impose law-enforcement-supported doctor-patient limits that might destroy the dispensary business. As for Romer, he's putting forward a bill focusing on the doctor-patient relationship -- one Corry sees as problematic enough to warrant another line-by-line dissection, offered in a letter sent to all Colorado legislators earlier today.
Corry's analysis of the latest bill, on view here, albeit with the occasional editorial cross-out, isn't as vituperative as the first. Indeed, there are numerous passages to which he doesn't object. Nevertheless, he sees the document as a whole as "a major shift in government interaction and oversight of the doctor-patient relationship, and there are probably parts of it that are unconstitutional."
Exhibit A: Romer's call for "a government-appointed board of overseers to second-guess a doctor's recommendation," Corry notes. "That has major constitutional implications."
To illustrate this point, Corry applied the Romer bill's provisions to abortion: Read that document here. And in his letter, he raises the specter of lawsuits should the legislation be passed as is. He writes:
My clients' lives literally depend on their access to medicine, and SB 10-109 thus causes concern, and we hope you or the sponsors will consider modifying it or withdrawing it. If not, and it becomes law, it will cause unnecessary human suffering and may expose the State of Colorado to costly litigation.
There are certainly no shortage of medical marijuana issues that strike Corry as litigable. Note the question of whether employers can prevent licensed medical marijuana patients from using the substance under the provision of company drug policies -- the subject of this Denver Post article.
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"I've represented people on this issue," Corry says -- and while he hasn't yet filed a lawsuit to address it, that's because "we've usually been able to work things out with the employer." Still, he continues, "I do think people might have an ADA-type claim based on disabilities from a debilitating medical condition.
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"The constitution says employers don't have to make accommodations for workplace use, which makes some sense," he acknowledges. "But as far as what an employee does on his or her own time, that's not the business of the employer" -- not should someone's boss be able to decide what prescriptions should be used to treat an individual's ailments.
In the meantime, Corry says he hopes to work with legislators "to get the bad parts of Senator Romer's bill taken out -- and I'm going to be putting forward a package of legislative proposals in the next few days."
Here's guessing they'll be significantly different from Romer's.