Marijuana tracking on the way in Colo.

DENVER — Colorado wants to set up a first-in-the-nation tracking system of medical marijuana purchases to deter people from buying vast amounts of pot and selling it on the black market.

Patients and marijuana advocates fear they will be harassed by a Big Brother-type intrusion as computers and video cameras monitor every ounce of pot sold in the state. Officials are also considering fingerprinting marijuana patients and keeping tabs on pot with radio-frequency devices.

“This is a matter of my functioning daily living,” said Diane Bilyeu, a 49-year-old woman who sometimes consumes up to 2 grams of pot in a day to treat her chronic pain since losing her right arm and leg in a 1997 car accident. “Some days I need more or less. I don’t know what business it is of the government’s.”

Officials say the regulations will provide basic protections to ensure that the system isn’t being abused by drug dealers and users.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2000, but the recent proliferation of marijuana dispensaries prompted state lawmakers this year to pass a series of new regulations.

It is an issue playing out around the country with 14 states allowing medical marijuana and possibly more to come under November ballot measures.

No state has gone so far to track pot purchases from seed to sale like Colorado is proposing, and regulators say their tracking plans could be a model for other states. Montana lawmakers are expected to consider medical marijuana tracking in that state when they convene next year.



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