Medical marijuana group believes Colorado could lead plant research

Colorado could lead the way in developing a variety of strains of marijuana and tapping into its medicinal benefits through reasonable regulations of the proliferating industry, the head of a coalition of medical marijuana supporters says.

“The benefit of good, reasonable, basic, business-level regulations is that a year from now we are the Silicon Valley of plant research,” Matt Brown, executive director of Coloradans for Medical Marijuana Regulation, said Wednesday in an interview with The Daily Sentinel editorial board.

But those sorts of aspirations will deflate if state lawmakers adopt Draconian rules on how dispensaries operate, he said.

That’s why Coloradans for Medical Marijuana Regulation is worried about a pair of recently introduced bills and working with their sponsors to try to find what the group considers some middle ground.

The bills, proposed by Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, and Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, would limit to five the number of patients a medical marijuana caregiver or dispensary can provide with marijuana and ban physicians from having a financial interest in a dispensary.

“As long as there is that patient cap, there is no industry,” Brown said.

Brown, who said he suffers from Crohn’s disease and has been a medical marijuana patient for two and a half years, emphasized that Coloradans for Medical Marijuana Regulation is in favor of some regulations. He said dispensaries should be licensed and operate only in commercial, industrial and agricultural zone districts. He said they also should have basic security plans and burglar alarms in place to demonstrate they don’t fear repercussions from law enforcement.

Coloradans for Medical Marijuana Regulation is taking no position on requiring dispensary owners and caregivers to undergo background checks. Brown said if such a requirement is adopted, he would want to have an appeals process in place, because some current or would-be owners have felony convictions for growing marijuana but have no violent criminal history.


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