February 2 2010, 9:41 AM
Just as the issue of regulations on Colorado's booming medical marijuana industry hit the PBS News Hour last night, the state Senate voted 34-1 to pass a bill preventing recreational pot users from obtaining medical marijuana. Senate Bill 109, which is now headed to the House for a vote, bars doctors from writing recommendations inside dispensaries that sell medical marijuana (via the Associated Press). The bill also requires doctors to review a person's medical history and provide a full exam before issuing a prescription. People aged 18 to 21 would need the approval of two doctors, a requirement already in place for patients under 18. The bill is meant to end the days of the "Wild West," according to Senator Chris Romer, a Denver Democrat and sponsor of the bill (via Fox 31). Attorney General John Suthers and Ned Colange, Colorado's chief medical examiner, testified in support of the bill, while attorney Robert Corry, representing hundreds of medical marijuana users, decried it as "an unprecedented assault on the doctor-patient privilege, [which would] hold medical marijuana doctors to a higher standard than any other doctor. This would cause human suffering. The most sick and most poor would be disproportionately harmed by this bill," Corry says. "You're going to see the [state Board of Medical Examiners] conducting witch hunts against medical marijuana providers." Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett likes Romer's bill but tells Westword he doesn't think further legislation, which some lawmakers are considering, would be constitutional: "My view is that this bill and then zoning and local control should be enough to improve the situation from what we have now."