January 28 2010, 10:30 AM
Roughly 150 people filled the state Capitol yesterday as lawmakers considered a bill that would make it more difficult for recreational pot users to become legal medical marijuana patients and that would bar doctors from working out of dispensaries or offering discounts to patients. The legislation, crafted by Senator Chris Romer (right), left many patients worried they will have to pay more to get their prescriptions filled, on top of an annual $90 registration fee. Despite their pleas, the bill, with a few tweaks, cleared a legislative committee by a 6-1 vote (via the Associated Press). In the process, lawmakers have found an unlikely ally in their quest to control the state's fast-growing medical marijuana industry: some dispensary owners. They back regulations as long as legislators promise they won't go for a crackdown similar to the one approved this week in Los Angeles, where hundreds of dispensaries will be shuttered as a result (via The Washington Post). Before the bill passed, Robert Corry, an attorney who represents medical marijuana patients and dispensaries, complained about some provisions, including one that would have forced people under 21 to get the approval of two doctors before being allowed access to medical marijuana (the provision was later removed), according to Westword. The bill now advances to the Senate floor for further debate. And if you're wondering whether dispensaries are safe, liquor stores and banks are more likely targets of robbery, according to a Denver Police Department analysis cited by The Denver Post.