The Colorado Senate today hammered out a new bill placing strong regulations on medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. House Bill 1284 would require all dispensaries to pay steep licensing fees to stay open and it also gives local municipalities the option of banning dispensaries within their jurisdiction altogether.
"This is the end of medical marijuana being out of control in our communities," claimed State Senator Chris Romer.
The bill, co-sponsored by state Sens. Chris Romer and Nancy Spence, would establish an auditing system to monitor dispensaries, which would be required to have security and to grow 70 percent of the marijuana they sell. People convicted of drug felonies, those who haven't been residents of Colorado for at least two years and others would be prohibited from opening a dispensary. Also, dispensaries would not be able to stay open past 7 p.m.
"I think for the truly chronically ill, this is great bill," Romer said. "For people who want to use medical marijuana recreationally, this is going to end that to the best we can do that."
The reaction by patients rights lobbyists has been mixed. Many people are upset over the provision granting individual communities the right to determine whether marijuana dispensaries are allowed to operate, with opponents saying it was unnecessary and unconstitutional.
"It will establish safe access centers," said Brian Vicente, Sensible Colorado. "It will have protection under state law for these dispensaries so patients can access medical marijuana; however, the state has created a giant bureaucracy to oversee this, and in doing so they may destroy some of the small businesses that are actually helping patients right now."
Time will tell if this how much this bill will affect the medical marijuana patients of Colorado. These are the people that should be considered when this bill is adopted since they are the ones that this law is intended to serve.