Utah medicinal cannabis activists have been watching and learning from their neighbor to the east very closely since 54% of Colorado voters approved Ballot Amendment 20 on November 7, 2000, effectively enabling the legalization of medical marijuana on June 1, 2001.
This is the fourth in a series of articles detailing legislation enacted in 20 states (as well as the District of Columbia) allowing medical patients access to cannabis to treat a variety of ailments. UtahCARE and other grassroots organizations have been sending e-mail blasts to all Utah lawmakers for the past five years, in order to facilitate their knowledge and understand of the benefits of Utah.
This new series of articles will be sent to each lawmaker (both current and hopeful) starting January 1, 2014 as a part of a new campaign to “educate in order to medicate”.
Colorado’s Ballot Amendment 20 removed state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess written documentation from their physician affirming that he or she suffers from a debilitating condition and advising that they
"might benefit from the medical use of marijuana."
In Colorado, a patient or a primary caregiver who has been issued a Medical Marijuana Registry identification card may possess no more than two ounces of a usable form of marijuana and not more than six marijuana plants, with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants that are producing a usable form of marijuana.
Patients who do not join the registry or possess greater amounts of marijuana than allowed by law may argue the "affirmative defense of medical necessity" if they are arrested on marijuana charges.
House Bill 1284 and Senate Bill 109 were signed into law, effective June 7, 2010 by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter who released a press released which stated the following:
"House Bill 1284 provides a regulatory framework for dispensaries, including giving local communities the ability to ban or place sensible and much-needed controls on the operation, location and ownership of these establishments.
Senate Bill 109 will help prevent fraud and abuse, ensuring that physicians who authorize medical marijuana for their patients actually perform a physical exam, do not have a DEA flag on their medical license and do not have a financial relationship with a dispensary."
According to their website, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment maintains a confidential database of patients who have applied for a registry identification card for the medical use of marijuana. Registry identification cards are available to Colorado residents and valid only in Colorado.
Patients who are currently receiving medical treatment for a debilitating medical condition may qualify for a registry identification card. A list of qualifying conditions is available at Legal Documents/Resources page and includes cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS positive, cachexia; severe pain; severe nausea; seizures, including those that are characteristic of epilepsy; or persistent muscle spasms, including those that are characteristic of multiple sclerosis.
Other conditions are subject to approval by the Colorado Board of Health.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment only issues registry identification cards and maintains the confidential Medical Marijuana Registry.
Colorado then introduced Amendment 64 and became infamous for legalizing recreational cannabis like alcohol. The next big event on the horizon for cannabis in Colorado appears to be taxes. Utah is taking a watch and learn attitude, certain that lawmakers will eventually be required to address the issue of legalizing for both medicinal and recreational uses.
By sending these articles to Utah lawmakers on a regular basis via e-mail blasts, members of UtahCARE intend to continue teaching politicians the benefits of cannabis until they finally recognize and legalize.
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