Well it's been two days since the committee on HB1284 held its public hearing. Yesterday was spent in committee, likely reviewing the eleven hours of testimony and handouts from officials and citizenry alike.
This bill just doesn't seem to have many supporters…from either side of the equation. Most people recognize that this is an industry that badly needs regulatory direction, but they also agree that it doesn't come from this bill.
It takes a lot of work to pass a bill through the House and Senate. One really has to feel for elected officials charged with the task. From less than three feet away, Senator Chris Romer's every wince and grimace was clearly visible and his frustration was sometimes palpable as he listened to hours of testimony.
Ten representatives from various judicial and law enforcement agencies stated that crime related to marijuana is worse since the dispensaries came along, but didn't produce any reports or meaningful statistics. They oppose the bill because it gives legitimacy to Medical Marijuana Centers (or dispensaries). They make the point that "dispensaries" are extra-constitutional. That Amendment 20 to the Colorado Constitution did not contemplate dispensaries.
Questions like "How do we put the tooth paste back in the tube?" came up frequently. Vice Chair, Senator Joyce Foster asked the question most frequently and with the most variations ("Cat back in the bag" etc, etc). The question really meant "What will happen if we ban dispensaries, can we go back to just the patient/caregiver model?"
The bill requires MMJ centers to grow 70% of their own product, procuring the other 30% from other centers only. Some legislators mentioned that they didn't want, so called, "freelance growers." Hey, isn't that what the basic caregiver according to Amendment 20 is anyway?
Does this requirement appear to be a little off to anyone else? Do we require grocery stores to grow 70% of their produce, or liquor stores to distill 70% of their own booze? Is there any industry that is subject to such a rule? This rule would greatly inhibit the variety and quality that some centers could offer their patients.
The bill also states "Primary caregivers may not charge a patient more than the cost of cultivating or purchasing the medical marijuana, but may charge for caregiver services." Why?
There is so much to cover in this bill, check back tomorrow for "More Questions on HB1284."