The great Colorado debate over medical marijuana finally reached the gold dome of the State Capitol on Wednesday when Democratic Senator Chris Romer introduced the first of two proposed bills dealing with the issue.
More than 150 people, including a large number of disabled medical marijuana patients, turned out before the senate's health and human services committee to listen or give their opinions over regulations that would require doctors to provide physical exams to their patients and offer follow-up care, among other proposals.
Most were opposed -- especially patients on fixed disability incomes, because it would force them to pay more money for extra doctors visits. Some were brought to tears by their own testimony; one even brought a vaporizer and some medicated olive oil to show the lawmakers.
A number of dispensary owners, doctors, lawyers associated with the effort and advocates with law enforcement also testified. Robert Corry, an attorney who has long represented medical marijuana patient and providers, laid out a long string of complaints.
One was a provision of the bill that would have forced people under 21 to get the approval of two doctors before being allowed access to medical marijuana. This provision was later removed by the members of the senate committee.
After listening to the testimony of two dozen people, along with the opinions of another ten or so, the committee finally voted to approve the bill, 6-1. It will now move on to the senate floor, where it will be tinkered with more.
Romer pledged to work with the members of the committee to address some of the affordability issues. He acknowledged that the bill isn't perfect, but said, to the displeasure of the crowd, that it is the "the beginning of the end of the wild west."
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