"I was thinking I've got five minutes to go and no one has asked me about medical marijuana... that's a good thing," Governor Bill Ritter said. And then, just five minutes before the governor had to leave Monday's legislative briefing, it came: the inevitable question about medical marijuana.
No conversation about pot policy takes just five minutes, even when the speaker is talking far faster than your average stoner, as eye-on-the-clock Ritter was.
But then, as the longtime Denver district attorney, Ritter comes from a law enforcement background. And law enforcement is among the many groups he's been talking with as he contemplates medical marijuana legislation that would help "establish a framework constitutionally" that Amendment 20, approved by the voters in 2000, did not.
"We want to make this really legitimate, in the spirit voters intended," Ritter said. "I know there are a lot of stories out there about people benefiting from it."
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But there are other stories out there, he cautioned: "I have a sense from the number of cards we've been seeing that a number of physicians are not careful." So one part of that framework will be defining the physician relationship.
The second? "How to supply marijuana to those with cards."
And that's a conversation that's going to take much, much longer than five minutes -- but thanks to state senator Chris Romer, who's already working on a proposed bill, state lawmakers will certainly be talking about medical marijuana when the legislative session kicks off four weeks from now. "It's in the state constitution," Ritter acknowledged. "It's here."