Drug Skeptics Fear Colorado Going To Pot

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  Drug Skeptics Fear Colorado Going To Pot

Posted by CN Staff on January 03, 2010 at 20:04:46 PT
By Valerie Richardson 
Source: Washington Times  

Denver -- When Colorado voters passed an amendment in 2000 allowing medical marijuana use, it was not clear that they were giving the go-ahead to launch hundreds of over-the-counter pot shops across the state.Yet that's the reality. Retail marijuana dispensaries now can be found in nearly every community in Colorado, with many popping up seemingly overnight after the Obama administration's Justice Department announced in February that it would no longer raid dispensaries in states that have legalized medical marijuana as long as they abide by state law.
Enter the state legislature, which is prepared to jump into the fray in January with proposals aimed at creating a regulatory framework for the drug's usage, sale and oversight.The debate is likely to boil down to a choice between a dispensary model that allows the system to operate largely as it does now, and a model based on law enforcement that shuts down the storefronts in favor of newly licensed "caregivers," most of whom likely would be medical professionals such as doctors and nurses.Whatever happens, lawmakers in other states will be watching. Fourteen states have legalized medical marijuana to some degree, but none has enacted a statewide regulatory framework — not even California, which houses by far the most medical marijuana dispensaries."California's system looks like a patchwork quilt. It's done county by county," said Brian Vicente, executive director of Sensible Colorado, the largest medical marijuana advocacy group in the state. "That's why it's exciting for Colorado to take this on and provide a model for the nation."State Sen. Chris Romer, a Democrat and son of former Gov. Roy Romer, has drawn up legislation that would provide more oversight and restrictions over the dispensary system while allowing it to operate in largely the same manner. His proposal would create a state licensing authority, similar to the one that oversees alcohol merchants, that would be responsible for the bulk of the industry's rule-making.The Romer bill also would raise from 18 to 21 the age at which a patient could legally obtain marijuana for medical use. A proposal to raise the age to 25 came under heated opposition from medical marijuana advocates. A review board would consider requests for the drug by patients younger than 21.The medical marijuana community is expected to throw its support behind the Romer bill, especially given alternatives. Another bill, backed by law enforcement, would effectively shut down the state's dispensaries in favor of licensing only individual caregivers, who could distribute medical marijuana to no more than five patients per year.That option may appeal to lawmakers who are concerned that dispensaries have basically legalized marijuana. While some of the dispensaries maintain a professional, pharmaceutical appearance, others look more like the so-called "head shops" of the 1960s.Amendment 20, the 2000 referendum that legalized medical marijuana, permitted the drug's use for patients with "debilitating medical conditions," which include multiple sclerosis and cancer, but also could be interpreted as difficult-to-confirm conditions such as headaches or back pain.State Sen. Frank Lundberg, a Republican who has not announced how he will vote, said he was concerned that some patients are receiving the drug for relatively minor conditions."They're bending the rules here, providing more for recreation than medicine," Mr. Lundberg said. "What I want to do is to roll things back and have it available only to those who really need it, and that's it."Indeed, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration takes a dim view of the whole medical marijuana experiment, saying that "smoked marijuana has not withstood the rigors of science" and denying that it targets sick people."DEA targets criminals engaged in cultivation and trafficking, not the sick and dying. No state has legalized the trafficking of marijuana, including [states] that have decriminalized certain marijuana use," the agency says on its site.Jessica Peck Corry, a lawyer and Republican medical marijuana advocate, said that any system dispensing pharmaceuticals would be subject to abuse. She said the No. 1 cause of accidental death in Colorado is overdose of prescription drugs.Mrs. Corry represented CannaMart, a medical marijuana dispensary, in a lawsuit against the city of Centennial, which had shut down the shop because it violated federal drug laws.A district court judge ruled against the city Wednesday, saying the business was operating legally under state law."What we have now is a system that, with a few exceptions, operates very well," Mrs. Corry said. "You hear patients saying, 'I'm getting the care and services I need.' We need to acknowledge that prescription-drug overdose is a much greater threat than medical marijuana."Fourteen states have approved medical marijuana. Dispensaries have begun to open in about half of them, Mr. Vicente said. Twenty other state legislatures are expected to consider similar bills in 2010. In Arizona, advocacy groups are pushing for a medical marijuana initiative on the November 2010 ballot."We hope to find common ground here in Colorado, but history tells us that law enforcement is bent on destroying medical marijuana," Mr. Vicente said. "I think we're going to have a fight on our hands."Source: Washington Times (DC)Author: Valerie Richardson Published: Monday, January 4, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Washington Times, LLC Website: letters washingtontimes.comURL: Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #20 posted by runruff on January 05, 2010 at 09:42:16 PT
Outlaw cigarettes...
...and see an national bloodbath!
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on January 05, 2010 at 09:40:22 PT
Denver Medical-Marijuana Rules Get Initial OK
January 5, 2010URL:
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on January 05, 2010 at 07:24:45 PT

Denver Cops: Medical Pot Sale Linked To Homicide
I believe that it isn't marijuana that causes things like this to happen but how much it costs. When the price drops to practically nothing after the laws are changed crimes like this won't happen in my opinion.***January 5, 2010URL:
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on January 04, 2010 at 16:36:50 PT

Big Business
One more thing. It really doesn't have much to do with Democrats or Republicans because big business runs our country. They decide what they want and that's that.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on January 04, 2010 at 16:34:09 PT

I agree with what you are saying. My only problem with the Democrats are they give in too easy and compromise. I do believe we need to compromise in situations sometimes but not when you know it is wrong to compromise.
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Comment #15 posted by kaptinemo on January 04, 2010 at 16:32:32 PT:

And one more thing:
The title. 'Drug skeptics'? You can almost see the Moonie Times author trying to bend, twist and otherwise avoid stating the obvious, no doubt out of deference to her Repub-fellating editorial staff's prejudices. Sorry, deary, but that's 'drug prohibitionists'.A point that those reading this should make to the author of this article, and the more frequently and numerically, the better.
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Comment #14 posted by kaptinemo on January 04, 2010 at 15:57:32 PT:

Time for some good ol' visits to the woodpile
The ideological one, that is.For years, the Republican Party advertised its' 'brand' as being the only one concerned with rights and liberties...until the reality of barely disguised corp-rat control drove the portion of it that was truly in favor of such from it's fold in 1971. After that they were hollow suits when it came to real freedom in this country. Yet they still trumpet themselves as favoring freedom (but only for corporations to do what they like unhindered by such niceties as regulations so they don't run roughshod over individual rights and liberties).And now? They betray themselves and their supposed philosophy with every word. It's long past time to call them out as hypocrites to the very philosophies that they make so much political capital on by loudly proclaiming they subscribe to.Cannabis use of any sort, medicinal or otherwise, represents both cognitive and literal freedom. The freedom to place in your body what you damn' well please, and screw The State's tacit claim of citizen-as-property. A claim that the Republicans for decades publicly stated that they denied, but in reality the DrugWar proved that claim a lie by their constant unwavering support of said DrugWar, with its' equally constant incremental savaging of the very liberties the Repubs paid lip-service to.Make no mistake: I hold Dems just as responsible for the present state of affairs, for being 'weak sister', 'milquetoast' enablers of these creatures. Never forget cannabis prohibition was begun with the Democratic Party enjoying an overwhelmingly control of House, Senate and Executive Branch. And even after the truth was known about cannabis, they continued to be 'weak sisters' and 'milquetoasts', refusing to support reform until it became clear they didn't have too much to fear from an already increasingly well-informed electorate.But the Republicans have been on the forefront of every drug prohibition measure since Nixon's days. It's long past time to rub their faces in the ideological hypocrisy that that support represented and do so repeatedly, until they quit trying to wear that mantle of 'protectors of freedom' and reveal the snarl of the culture warrior behind the smiley mask they show the world.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on January 04, 2010 at 14:29:59 PT

Paint with light
I think the problem in some of the red states is they didn't like the youth movement in the 60s and knew that most of the civil rights activists smoked marijuana. I hope they understand that it is an important part of American history that happened back then. Many good thngs have come from that time. 
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Comment #12 posted by Paint with light on January 04, 2010 at 14:06:50 PT

Reaching the red states
A majority of people in the Red states accept alcohol usage.Even my small town of 10,000 has several liquor stores and beer is sold at grocery stores.That is one of the reasons I use the phrase "legal like alcohol".Equating with the familiar gives you access to consideration.Mississippi, areas of Arkansas, and one of the Carolinas are already ahead of several Northern, and Midwestern states.Of course the left coast is leading the way as it usually does.So proportionately the red states aren't nearly the problem they might appear at first glance.I believe some changes are coming in Tennessee law this year.Some people in Florida are working hard to change the laws there.Education is still the key to legalization.Another key to the south is getting the farmers on board.One of the things I want to do this year is make a presentation to some local farmers about the benefits of legal cannabis as a crop.We have to slay the Myth Monsters that still exist.Legal like alcohol, at least.
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Comment #11 posted by dongenero on January 04, 2010 at 14:02:27 PT

18 or 21 to use medical marijuana huh?

18-21 sounds more like they are talking about recreational use guidelines.As for medical guidelines, this Healthday article discusses very young children receiving powerful pshychiatric drugs.
Now, this is frightening.More Toddlers, Young Children Given Antipsychotics rate of children aged 2 to 5 who are given antipsychotic medications has doubled in recent years, a new study has found.Yet little is known about either the effectiveness or the safety of these powerful psychiatric medications in children this age, said researchers from Columbia University and Rutgers University, who looked at data on more than 1 million children with private health insurance."It is a worrisome trend, partly because very little is known about the short-term, let alone the long-term, safety of these drugs in this age group," said study author Dr. Mark Olfson, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University in New York City.Prescribing antipsychotics to children in the upper range of that age span -- ages 4 and 5 -- is justifiable only in rare, intractable situations in which all other treatments, including family and psychological therapy, have been tried and are not working, Olfson said.And it's questionable whether 2- and 3-year-olds should ever be prescribed antipsychotics, Olfson said.
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Comment #10 posted by Sam Adams on January 04, 2010 at 12:52:41 PT

>>>The Romer bill also would raise from 18 to 21 the age at which a patient could legally obtain marijuana for medical use. A proposal to raise the age to 25 came under heated opposition from medical marijuana advocates. A review board would consider requests for the drug by patients younger than 21.Great logic! People who are young and sick can take toxic Big Pharma meds. The sick children can take toxic brain-altering meds until the all-mighty "review committee" decides than can use natural herbs.
People who are over 21 can make lots of money selling weed to under 18's! If the referendum said 18 I say sue their asses off if they try to change it!
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on January 04, 2010 at 07:58:09 PT

At the risk of foot in mouth...
I loved the head shops in the old days. They were cool... even before I realized what they were about. But I've often thought that if they are doing the medical thing they should avoid the Marley and Hendrix posters, the black lights, and all that neat stuff if they are presenting in the medical use venue.We have enough trouble anyway without asking for more.It just seems to make sense, under the circumstances, to save the head shop and party on atmosphere for the recreational venue. "While some of the dispensaries maintain a professional, pharmaceutical appearance, others look more like the so-called "head shops" of the 1960s."
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on January 04, 2010 at 07:49:50 PT

is getting a lot of free advertising with all this brouhaha. 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on January 04, 2010 at 07:42:24 PT

AP: Denver Council Mulling Limits on Pot Shops

January 4, 2010Colorado -- Denver officials are starting work on limiting medical marijuana dispensaries. The city council planned a first reading of the ordinance Monday night. Denver has seen an explosion of pot shops in recent months—with the number now more than 300 and growing every day. The Denver Post reports that Denver now has more marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks coffee shops—and twice as many dispensaries as public schools. The ordinance up for its first reading Monday would bar dispensaries near schools and forbid the consumption of marijuana on-site. A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled Jan. 11. Copyright: 2010 Associated Press——— On the Net: Read the ordinance:

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Comment #6 posted by FoM on January 04, 2010 at 06:19:59 PT

The problem as I see it is we have many conservative people in the USA and they don't want the laws changed at all. Progressives do want the laws changed but we are no where near a majority for total legalization of cannabis when you consider the red states opinions.I would like to see a poll for cannabis legalization that is done strictly in red states and then one in strictly blue states. I know that would shed light on why we are having so much trouble.
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Comment #5 posted by runruff on January 04, 2010 at 05:43:17 PT

A story MSM must have missed?
Michelle Leonheart temp. chief of the DEA was on a lecturing tour with Rabbi Jacob and an East Indian holy man. They were out taking the message of drug addiction to the country.While driving through Nebraska on a long stretch of road the car broke down during a storm. They took refuge at the nearest farm house. A small house with a large family.The Rabbi offered to sleep in the barn but was soon knocking at the door saying he can't sleep there because of the swine present.The East Indian volunteered but soon returned saying I can't sleep with the sacred cow!The DEA agent declared, oh for heaven sake, I'll go!Five minutes later, a knock. The farmer opened the door. It was the cow and the pig! 
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Comment #4 posted by Brandon Perera on January 04, 2010 at 03:53:16 PT:

Movin to Colorado 
I hope to move to Colorado so I can help people who truly need it unlike people who like to make a quick buck :(
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Comment #3 posted by EAH on January 03, 2010 at 20:43:59 PT:

They aren't getting it.
More news that basically demonstrates that it is going to be impossible to 
grow, process and distribute cannabis with total separation between the "medical" world and the recreational world. There's too much cross pollination and they're never going to be able to fairly completely and totally separate them.As needed as it was for there to at least be a medical exception, events are moving quickly beyond that being as far as it goes and stopping. When are they going to get it that it is prohibition and trying desperately to hang on to it the is causing them to struggle to find a workable model so hard.There are many that still believe this baby can be split, when are they going to realize it can't?
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on January 03, 2010 at 20:28:40 PT

I found Denver to be the "pot hole" capitol!
jes' sayin'
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 03, 2010 at 20:11:34 PT

Denver May Be Pot Capital
As Dispensaries Pop Up, Denver May Be Pot Capital, U.S.A.January 3, 2010URL:
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