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Colorado Medical Marijuana Laws
In 2000, Colorado voters authorized the use of Colorado medical marijuana with Amendment 20 to the state Constitution. The amendment took effect in June 2001. More than 4,000 people are employed in the legal Colorado marijuana industry. They wear official badges showing they have complied with all state security guidelines. The Colorado Constitution allows patients to grow a few plants for their own use as well as choose their caregiver who must be older than 18 years of age and not the patient's doctor. Strict confidentiality is provided; however, changes in patient reporting scheduled to have gone into effect on July 1 continue to be the subject of legal efforts to block the provision. While previously only the state health department had a confidential state registry of patients, the new law seeks to give those lists to law enforcement and other government agencies. Patients may not engage in use in any open places, which is defined as pretty much anywhere outside of the patient's home.
The new series of oversight regulation was approved in early 2011 and is now being evolved by patients and caregivers. They require stepped up efforts and security to thwart possible robbery attempts and also establish a tracking system covering all steps from seed to sale. Cultivation operations are now subject to mandatory video surveillance as are facilities storing and selling medicinal marijuana. Further, all centers must be closed by 8 p.m. Registration is required for all caregivers who grow herb for up to five patients. Caregivers will be limited to up to five patients and not allowed to make a profit. These provisions, too, are subject to litigation and will be decided by state courts. As it stands, state records show that more than 144,000 patient applications have been filed since June 2001. Currently, more than 127,000 Colorado residents have valid medicinal marijuana state registration cards. Some 69 percent of patients are male and 56 percent live in the Denver metropolitan area. Severe pain accounts for 94 percent of all reported conditions. More than 60 percent of patients have designated a primary caregiver and more than 1,100 physicians have signed for patients' marijuana cards.
While federal laws still may apply, Amendment 20 sets the conditions for patients to grow their own and purchase from recognized and taxable clubs and pharmacies. Dispensaries and caregivers are in the process of adapting to these new regulations, according to sources; however, many dispensaries and grow operations continue to operate under 2000 Constitutional protections pending the litigation outcome. The medical marijuana registration fee is $90 annually although regulators are considering reducing it to $35. Medical marijuana registry identification cards are not valid outside the state. Patients are allowed to possess up to two ounces of marijuana in usable form and they can have up to six marijuana plants under cultivation with up to three in mature condition producing usable forms of herb. Only as much marijuana as is necessary to cope with debilitating medical conditions are allowed.