As the new year begins in a little over a month, patients in Colorado will face stricter rules for attaining medical marijuana. In a recent announcement spanning nearly 500 pages, the state’s Department of Revenue outlined new stipulations and restrictions that came after “several months of deliberation over how to execute a new state law meant largely to limit young people’s access to and abuse of high-potency THC products,” as reported by the Denver Post. The publication reported that the executive director of the state’s Department of Revenue and a former speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, Mark Ferrandino, had “final say” on the new ordinance but that he “received heavy input from state marijuana enforcement officials and a task force that included parents, health professionals, and marijuana industry representatives.”
The task force was a byproduct of legislation passed and signed into law earlier this year. One of the most notable restrictions deals with the amount patients can purchase. Under the new regulations, the state “will limit the daily purchase to two ounces of flower and eight grams of concentrate such as wax and shatter for medical marijuana patients,” per the Denver Post, but the limit is only two grams per day for 18 to 20-year-old patients.
However, there are exceptions, although they apply “only to a patient whose doctor affirms in writing that the patient has a physical or geographic hardship that should allow them to exceed the daily purchase limits, and that the patient has designated a store as the primary place they get their medicine,” per the publication. The new regulations also require dispensaries to provide an educational pamphlet to customers buying concentrates, prohibiting retailers from marketing to potential customers younger than 21. In June, Colorado lawmakers made the first move toward imposing limits on marijuana concentrates when the bill was passed, signed into law by Democratic Governor Jared Polis.
The bill, responsible for creating the task force that aided in formally producing the new rules, was urged by Democrats in the state House. One of the legislation’s sponsors, Yadira Caraveo, Democratic State Representative, who’s also a pediatrician, said the new rules were created to ensure that youths don’t “get their hands on an incredible amount of products and very concentrated products that they then can give or sell to people their age or younger who don’t yet have access to the legal market because they’re not 21.” While many support the new stipulations kicking off the new year, not everyone is okay with the latest changes.
NORML has voiced objections to many provisions included in House Bill 1317, saying the legislation “places additional and unreasonable hurdles for those patients ages 18 to 20 who are now eligible to receive medical cannabis authorizations.” While as lovely as it is to see so many barriers being broken in support of marijuana reform, it’s good to discuss how to regulate cannabis use and keep it out of the hands of the youth that aren’t eligible with new laws. That being said, anyone of legal age who has been prescribed medical marijuana should be able to stock up on their medications, whether it’s edible boxes or jars of flower, just like others do with medications from pharmacies, which are typically a month-long supply. It’s a complicated issue where health, safety, and comfort are crowded at center stage.