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US: Medical marijuana bill gets initial OK
    #526451 - 02/12/11 11:20 AM (7 years, 3 months ago)

Gene Davis

Denver Daily News

Friday 11 Feb 2011
A House committee yesterday unanimously passed a bill that seeks to amend the sweeping medical marijuana laws passed last year.

House Bill 1043 would in part lessen the residency requirements for employees of medical marijuana centers, allow medical marijuana centers to trade marijuana with other centers, and require a primary caregiver who cultivates marijuana to register the cultivation site and all patient identification numbers with the state.

"What we're doing this year with 1043 is really more of a cleanup in essence to the extensive legislation we passed last year," said bill sponsor Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs.

Public testimony on HB 1043 exceeded five hours yesterday. Critics such as medical marijuana attorney Robert Corry said HB 1043 didn't go far enough to loosen some of the allegedly harsh regulations implemented by last year's laws. Meanwhile, supporters said the bill would be an agreeable step forward towards regulating the industry.

Corry argued that the law should be amended to allow people from out of state to open up medical marijuana centers; current law requires a person to be a Colorado resident for at least two years to open a center. He called it outrageous that the state spends time and money trying to lure out-of-state businesses to Colorado, yet prohibits it when it comes to medical marijuana.

He also believes the state should eliminate the law requiring medical marijuana centers to grow at least 70 percent of their own marijuana. He argued that it's absurd to potentially prosecute a medical marijuana center owner for not growing enough marijuana.

"The medical marijuana industry is subject to requirements and regulations that no other industry must satisfy in the world," he said.

But some in the medical marijuana community supported the bill for allowing medical marijuana centers and infused product manufacturers to send marijuana to labs for testing. Center owners like Josh Stanley, who is also the vice chair of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, said allowing research and development of marijuana will help center owners recommend strains that better help patients. He said while he has some concerns about parts of the bill, it is a step in the right direction.

"A good compromise is when not everybody is exactly happy," he said.

However, several pro-medical marijuana activists were outraged by the bill's proposal to extend a moratorium on opening medical marijuana centers until July 2012. Laura Kriho of the Cannabis Therapy Institute said it wasn't fair for Massey to add the proposal to extend the moratorium "at the last second"; another activist said the extended moratorium wasn't fair for those planning to open up a center.

Massey pointed out that the majority of the comments made during testimony were related to the laws already in place, not HB 1043. One person was cut off after attempting to give a history lesson on marijuana before then trying to comment on another medical marijuana related bill.

HB 1043 now goes to the Appropriations Committee.





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