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Colorado Medical Marijuana Laws Heat Up | Litigation Project Formed
DOR Draft Rules Released - Litigation Project Formed
For immediate release: Aug. 31, 2010 Dept. of Revenue Reveals Draft Rules for MMJ Industry Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project Formed Click here for VIDEO and PHOTOS: http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/legal/rules/dor/ Denver: The Colorado Department of Revenue released 92 pages of draft rules for the medical marijuana industry last week. The DOR will use these draft rules as a basis to form permanent rules for the medical marijuana industry. Click here to read the draft rules (PDF file): The draft rules were revealed on Friday, August 27, 2010 at the first "workgroup" meeting of 25 people who will "give guidance" to the Department of Revenue on their rulemaking process. This was the same workgroup meeting that the DOR tried to hold in private, until CTI pressured the DOR to obey the Open Meetings Act (Sunshine Law) and open the meeting to the public. About 70 members of the public attended the meeting. *Web Tracking System Announced*
At the meeting, the Dept. of Revenue revealed plans for a new web-based "seed to sale" tracking system that they have been developing through weekly meetings with several state agencies and outside consultants.
Medical cannabis activists are concerned that this tracking system will violate patient confidentiality guaranteed in the Constitution. Click here to watch a video of Matt Cook, head of the new Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division of the Department of Revenue, describing the system. *Surveillance and Recording Requirements*
The rules include 10 pages of new requirements for state-of-the-art video surveillance and recording systems to be installed in every location that sells, grows or processes medical marijuana. The draft rules require video cameras to record every transaction and processing step from seed to sale, inside and outside. They would require the Medical Marijuana Centers to link their Point-Of-Sale system with their video surveillance system to present a text overlay of every transaction on the video recording.
The draft rules require patients to place their Registry ID card and drivers license in a 12 x 12 space on the counter under the security camera so it could record their ID with every medical marijuana transaction. The Department of Revenue wants to be able to access these surveillance cameras through the Internet at any time. Medical cannabis activists are concerned that these surveillance requirements will also violate patient privacy rights. *Constitutional Issues* Caregivers operated medical marijuana businesses legally in Colorado for 10 years, until HB1284 was enacted this summer. The stated intention of HB1284 was to put 80% of dispensaries out of business. The Department of Revenue was given the authority to regulate medical marijuana by HB1284, and they have begun writing the hundreds of pages of regulations, which are forcing these formerly legal business owners out of business. There are good legal arguments that HB1284 is unconstitutional. Prior to HB1284, medical marijuana businesses operated legally in Colorado for 10 years as care-givers under the protection of the Article XVIII, Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution (Colorado's Medical Marijuana Amendment). HB1284 created a new entity called the "Medical Marijuana Center", which has no constitutional protection. In fact, HB1284 requires MMC applicants to give up their constitutional right to be a care-giver. In exchange for these constitutional rights, the state has created the "statutory privilege" of applying to become a "Medical Marijuana Center". Statutes and regulations can be changed at whim by politicians or bureaucrats, offering little protection. However, a constitutional right gives greater protection than statutes, and can only be changed by a vote of the people. In normal circumstances, no one would dream of giving up their constitutional rights in exchange for a "statutory privilege". However, many caregivers and dispensary owners felt they had no choice but to try to comply with the new "statutory privilege" laws, as they had invested their entire life savings into their businesses. Caregivers reluctantly gave up their constitutional right to provide medicine for their patients, and now they are faced with volumes of new regulations and thousands of dollars more in costs to bring their "centers" into compliance.
*Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project*
The solution is to overturn HB1284 as unconstitutional. The Cannabis Therapy Institute is helping publicize the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project. The PCRLP has several attorneys working from different legal angles to clarify and restore Colorado's Constitutional right to be a caregiver. The PCRLP needs the help of the entire industry to make this project successful. On Aug. 1, the medical marijuana industry in Colorado gave the state $10 million in application fees so the state could regulate them out of existence. If dispensary owners gave only 10% of that amount to the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project, they could overturn all of these unconstitutional laws and put businesses back on the same track they were before HB1284. If patients have to swipe a card and get into a government database every time they buy medicine, no patient will want to be part of the program. For 10 years prior to HB1284, caregivers in Colorado were allowed to provide medical marijuana to their patients in a safe, compassionate way. It is time for the industry to fight back against these unconstitutional laws and take the industry back from government regulators, who only seek ways to put Colorado medical marijuana dispensaries out of business and open patients to unprecedented levels of scrutiny.