Why One Colorado Legislator Is Worried About the Growing Medical Marijuana Industry

October 2009

Romer, ChrisIn the wake of a formal announcement by the Obama administration that drug enforcement officials should essentially steer clear of medical marijuana dispensaries that obey the letter of the law in their respective states, a Denver legislator wants to make sure Colorado's law is crystal clear. State Senator Chris Romer fears the medical marijuana industry is growing too quickly and might be abused at a time when health officials are receiving an average of 600 requests daily for medical-marijuana cards, writes The Denver Post. Romer, a Democrat, says he assumed Amendment 20, passed in 2000, would allow medical marijuana only for patients with severe illnesses and few other options for medical care. Since then, however, he suspects that doctors are prescribing marijuana to people with mere aches and pains. "I voted for the law. I believe in the law, but I believe in properly implementing the law," Romer says, adding that he will meet with law enforcement officials and caregivers as he drafts a bill for the legislative session that begins in January.

Rob Cory, an attorney who has successfully represented clients who use medical marijuana, is cautiously optimistic, saying he'd support any effort that would help make marijuana "more accessible to patients at a lower price." Meanwhile, medical marijuana advocates are up in arms after drug-enforcement officials claimed Colorado's dispensaries are padding the pockets of Mexican cartels (via The Denver Post). Westword's resident medical marijuana expert responds with suspicion and subsequent tips on how to "shop local."