Blog Move

Hi Everyone,

I want to let everyone know my blog is still active, but it has been moved to:

Please continue to follow my posts and RSS feed at the new page. Please tell your friends, family, and patients. As always, thank you for reading and for your support.

Mark Slaugh

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The BBB Eye and I – Part 2

A few weeks ago, I shared a clip and video segment from the monthly show from the Better Business Bureau called “The BBB Eye”. Last time I talked about Dan May’s interview and I pointed out some areas of confusion from the District Attorney who clearly has a personal agenda against medical cannabis. Just this week, his office made a formal policy NOT to offer deferred sentences to people being accused of marijuana crimes.***

Apparently, jail is a better option according to the DA’s office than offering a deferred sentence plea that keeps people from breaking laws for a period of time. I’m sure that’s the best use of public resources… Yeah Right.

This week, I want to discuss my interaction with the BBB and show the clip they took regarding the new laws and regulations coming from the State of Colorado.

For those of you that don’t know, I recently helped co-found a company dedicated to compliance with new State laws, rules, and regulations. Known as iComply, our company strives to educate business owners, employees, and government about impacting cannabis laws as they change.

We’ve created a compliance manual that allows for easy understanding and checklist instructions on how to stay compliant. From a practical perspective, the manual allows government officials to see exactly what is required from a medical cannabis merchant’s perspective. From a business perspective, this regulatory resource helps ensure the best medical cannabis centers Stay Alive and Thrive.

I can only hope these initiatives help get more compassionate and logical laws on the books. As time goes on, I imagine the regulations will become less restrictive as business owners show their transparent compliance efforts. Enforcement is next and I’m expecting the State Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division to crack down on the bad apples of the industry.

Of course, the BBB didn’t want to ask about all that.

No offense to them, but the laws ARE confusing and most of the general public is clueless as to what takes place behind the closed doors of the buildings with the green crosses. Clearly, the questions asked by the interviewer in the video centered on the basic notions of how one may obtain a medical cannabis card, what caregivers were, and how the laws have been crafted to create this industry.

It’s important that the general public knows that real patients, at the average age of 40, use cannabis as medicine. With the public thinking that all centers serve 20 year old pain patients, the social stigma is painting medical cannabis centers as criminal enterprises that abuse the medical system.

This isn’t to say that 20 year olds can’t have health issues either;
correlation is not necessarily causation and I remember a 22 year old female cancer patient that we helped through chemo at the medical cannabis center I managed.

A conscious effort needs to be made in the cannabis community to kick the counter-culture to the curb and to think about long term plans to continue serving patients, the majority of whom need their cannabis medicine for serious health conditions. These efforts should be made by giving back to the community, reaching out to patients with conditions that cannabis helps with, and in identifying one’s self by service to patients, not product.

As year 2 of regulation begins, I’m excited to see organizations like the BBB, who despite not allowing medical cannabis centers to join them, are at least taking a proactive role in reaching out to organizations like the CSMCC. As time goes on, I hope medical cannabis can integrate into society smoothly and that patients won’t have to feel stigmatized for the medicine they choose to use.

For businesses, it will be of vital importance not to forget their patients in lieu of profits and to step out of the stigmatized shadows to show the good they provide to thousands of patients. Colorado is on the forefront of medical cannabis industrialization nationwide and Colorado Springs remains the most saturated market; with the most number of centers respective to the number of patients. It’s time to forget the price war that has competitors vying for slimmer and slimmer margins and to have serious businesses unite for the common good of the patients they serve.

If I could have, that’s what I would have told a professional organization like the BBB.

***Update 7/25/11 – I stopped by the 4th Judicial District DA’s office and spoke with Ms. Kim Kitchen, the Chief Deputy District Attorney who denied all allegations of a formal change in policy. In my opinion, she seemed guarded and defensive when discussing this matter. I simply stated I was an advocate making sure the DA’s office wasn’t taking aim at medical marijuana and that they would defend the right of patients. The scowl on her face told me this alleged policy may not have been official or documented, but was probably discussed. Only future patient prosecutions will tell if this is truly the case.

Posted in Compliance and Medical Cannabis Laws, Patient Rights and Medical Cannabis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dan May and Bob – Patient vs Prosecution

Bob Crouse has cancer. Leukemia, to be precise. When he was diagnosed by his doctor 4 years ago, he knew he only had a limited amount of time left on this earth. Like many other Cancer patients, Bob began looking for an alternative treatment to try and save his life. Two years after his diagnosis and after extensive research online, Bob talked to his
doctor about medical cannabis. Like many other cancer patients in Colorado, Bob found medical marijuana relieving for the body, positive for the mind, and stress-reducing for the cancer.

Bob was born and raised in Colorado Springs and has owned small businesses all over Colorado, employing hundreds over his life time. His Fillmore Restaurant, Yakibob’s, has been a local staple in the City for over 14 years.

Cancer Patient or Criminal?

As a conservative businessman and devout Christian, Bob  believes medical marijuana falls under God’s promise in Genesis 1:29 of the Bible that says, “I give unto thee All seed Bearing Plants.”

He has felt his life improve while using medical cannabis and he credits Jesus for giving him the strength to fight the cancer that is slowly killing him.


Growing his own medicine was very therapeutic for Bob and he even tried his hand out at caregiving for other ill patients, finding a new lease on life in his last years by gardening. At 62 years old now, Bob’s health and life are leaving him. What he has left is a loving family and faith in his God to see him peacefully through his ordeal. What he doesn’t need, besides Leukemia, are the two felony charges against him from the El Paso County DA’s Office.

In May, Bob answered the door of his home to police officers who had arrived to investigate an unrelated case. Having been a businessman dealing with regulators for the last 14 years, Bob allowed officers to enter his home after one of them claimed to smell marijuana. Bob thought the police would understand his right as a patient under Colorado law. He thought wrong.

The result was half a million dollars’ worth of law enforcement assets deployed to his home to seize 54 medical marijuana plants from a 62 year old cancer patient. Bob was charged with cultivation and intent to distribute, despite his pleas to officers that the marijuana was for medical use and that he was growing only for himself.

Earlier in the year, Bob had spoken with a doctor about raising the plant count limits originally assigned to him so he could make cannabis oil. Concentrated cannabis oil has been seen in cases around the world to have anti cancerous properties and some patients have seen cancer completely disappear.  Bob intended to grow the amount of cannabis needed for this therapeutic oil concentrate.

After discussing this treatment with a doctor, Bob was assigned a higher plant count limit and submitted his renewing paperwork to the State. Bob should have been protected under the Colorado Constitution when police visited his home according to the 20th Amendment. Unfortunately, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment rejected Bob’s paperwork because of a clerical error and so police arrested him when they saw his medical marijuana.

El Paso County District 4
Dan May – Prosecutor of Patients

The DA’s office is trying to claim that because Bob’s renewal paperwork was rejected for a clerical error, that he is a criminal, and not a cancer patient, for growing medical marijuana at home.

Clearly, this is not the case if Bob agreed with his doctor and was using the marijuana concentrate for his cancer. Like the other 135,000 patients in Colorado, Bob is not a threat to society for simply growing and using medical marijuana at home.

District Attorney Dan May and his office apparently feel that tax payers should prosecute Bob for being sick and for having an error on his forms.

Bob can not afford an attorney and has a public council, and that is just not right.  The person who was assigned as his council was just changed on him again, and now he’s facing a very real life or death decision in the hands of the jurors trying his case. On one side of the justice scale, the prosecution will portray Bob as a criminal cultivator of a dangerous plant. On the other side, blind justice should feel the weight of Bob being a cancer patient and growing his cannabis as medicine, as recommended by his doctor.

If Bob’s jurors take a note from precedent cases, they’d be wise to read about Jason Lauve’s case when he faced District Attorney Stan Garnett in Boulder. After a long 4 day trial, Lauve was finally acquitted of the charges against him on August 6th, 2009 and his 34 ounces marijuana was returned to him. The jury in Lauve’s case found that Jason had a legal right to more marijuana if deemed medically necessary and that his doctor’s recommendation alone was sufficient to having his Constitutional right to medical marijuana.

Like Jason, Bob had a previous diagnosis and his physician’s advice. Even if his paperwork was rejected for a clerical error, Bob still had Leukemia. Cancer doesn’t care about paperwork. The prosecution will have to prove that Bob possessed more than was medically necessary when they arrested him.  As in every criminal case, the prosecution will have the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Bob broke the law.  In every right, the individual should be protected, not prosecuted, by the law. This is especially true when it centers around the health of a patient facing trial and certain death if imprisoned. If he accepts the DA’s plea bargain, he still faces a painful death, without his medicine, and would still be found guilty.

Colorado Springs citizens should not tollerate using any more police resources to pursue any of these medical marijuana prosecutions, and Jason Lauve’s acquittal should stand as an indefinite precedent for Colorado patients with rights like Bob Crouse. Write D.A. Dan May and his office and let them know that it would be wise to drop the charges against Mr. Crouse before more time, money, and effort are spent pursuing cannabis patients as criminals.

According to Dan May’s Office Website:
The mission of the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office is to administer justice, advocate for victims, and partner with law enforcement and citizens of this community in the deterrence and prevention of crime.

Somebody obviously doesn’t have thier priorities straight. Write or call them at:

Teller County
112 N. A St., PO Box 958
Cripple Creek, CO 80813

Posted in Patient Rights and Medical Cannabis, Politics and Medical Cannabis | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The BBB Eye and I – Dan May (Part 1)

Recently, I was afforded the opportunity to sit down and chat with
local Better Business Bureau CEO Carol O’dell. This long standing organization
covers a monthly program about local issues that airs all month long on the
Library Channel. Given the positive reputation BBB businesses have, I was very
honored to speak with Carol on “The BBB Eye” program about medical
marijuana laws in Colorado.

At the time of the interview, I was unaware of the questions Carol
would ask despite being aware of the conservative nature of small business in
Colorado Springs. Carol was very cordial, respectful, and inquisitive about
medical cannabis and I enjoyed the experience.

In watching the video, I believe I represented patients fairly,
with their rights in mind. Although the laws may seem convoluted now, the fact
is Colorado has the most advanced economy for medical cannabis in the Nation.
Colorado Springs is especially interesting as it is the most competitive market
in Colorado, being the most “center-saturated” city in the State.

Unfortunately for the blooming industry in Colorado Springs,
centers still face one of the toughest District Attorneys in the State: Dan
May. Mr. May is staunchly opposed to MMJ. He was also interviewed by the BBB in
the July program concerning MMJ laws in Colorado. His public
record has not been favorable
toward MMJ patients or industry.

Mr. May made claims during last year’s MMJ
claiming marijuana made patients violent among other predictions of
increased crime at MMJ facilities. To this day, MMJ centers
remain one of the safer businesses in the City
according to the CSPD.

Mr. May’s BBB Eye Interview

Mr. May’s claims that our Colorado Senate “failed us” are clearly
misinforming and bias to both the BBB Eye and the Colorado public. Mr. May
expects the “fall out” to occur and implies the industry is a
majority of “renegade operations” waiting to be shut down. He
highlights most of the recommendations are from a handful of Doctors and
implies that they are “not in good standing”.

Here’s the article covering the “physician fall-0ut” Dan May is claiming.

The truth is only a handful of doctors have been declared in bad
standing, I think one because he had a restriction on his surgeon’s license for
having Parkinson’s disease. So the restrictions aren’t accurate measurements of
bad doctors. Clearly the law didn’t shake out shady doctors if the law is
denying patient recommendations from doctors who shake.

The District Attorney should respect the level of education a
doctor has when they sit down to evaluate a medical cannabis patient. Since Mr.
May is not qualified to make that evaluation, maybe he should focus more on
helping patients with laws instead of hurting them. I mean that literally.

I’m working with a cancer patient right now who is facing Mr.
May’s prosecution for growing potentially lifesaving medicine in the privacy of
his home. The Cops took his medical marijuana and now Mr. May’s office wants to
throw a leukemia patient who has been fighting to live for the past 4 years
into prison to await certain death.

How is this at all what voters should expect from their DA? How
can a jury find guilt in a patient’s health choice between improved life or worsening death?

Its patients like this that Mr. May needs to focus on
protecting, not prosecuting as Top Cop in Colorado Springs.

Call Dan and let him know how you feel about his views on the MMJ
industry and laws. His office number is: (719) 520-6000

Oh and see why he thinks throwing a sick man into prison is preferable to
letting him garden instead.

If you still don’t believe me about Dan May, see what Sean Paige had to say.

My portion of the interview is coming up next. Stay tuned.

Posted in Compliance and Medical Cannabis Laws, Politics and Medical Cannabis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Compliance, Compliance, Compliance. Period.

Did I mention compliance?

With July 1 2011 just around the corner, the industry focus has been very directly centered on becoming, and more importantly staying, compliant with medical marijuana rules and regulation. The MMED has made over 77 pages of complicated and disorganized rules regarding medical cannabis businesses that are slated to go into effect July 1. The rules may be viewed here.

While the MMED has yet to make all the rules necessary, most have been made. Earlier this month, the CSMCC hosted a mixer with Dan Hartman (video), director of the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division. The regulator made it clear that the MMED expects all MMJ facilities to be working toward compliance and that his department will be investigating those who are not making efforts towards these ends.

During this time frame, it is also important to note that after starting up a new center since November, I have transitioned into opening my own company. Given the work I’ve done in the medical marijuana field, this new company aligns my personal interests in helping medical cannabis centers be the best they can be.

The company, known as iComply, specializes in reducing the complicated business requirements from the MMED into simplified and business friendly checklists. This series of checklists covers the entirety of the rules and regulations from the MMED in summarized format and has been approved by the firm Black and Graham, LLC who specializes in medical marijuana law in Colorado Springs.

In addition to this valuable resource, iComply goes the extra mile to train individuals and teams responsible for sections of the iCompliance Manual on how to use it; ensuring everyone in the MMJ organization is aware of the law. iComply also assists businesses in stepping up their level of competition through process improvement initiatives, general business consulting, marketing strategies, and effective brand differentiation.

Finally, iComply clients are entitled to substantial discounts from other CSMCC service providers such as POS companies, security firms, printing and design professionals, cannabis testing laboratories, and MMJ attorneys.

Many times, an MMC may employ less qualified or skilled
individuals to run day to day operations. Firms may keep iComply consultants on
retainer to tackle miscellaneous projects, reports, and analyses as needed.

As the industry moves into self-legitimacy one year into Colorado’s MMJ market, many companies will struggle with increasing competition and decreasing prices. In order to survive and thrive, these participants will need edges in business to beat their competitors and stay in compliance.

The time for mom and pop shops will soon give way to commercializing entities that treat their MMJ businesses seriously. Already, major competitors are standing out while many MMJ companies still lack long term plans for their business.

Many still focus on product and profits over patients or engage in taboo tactics like sign waiving to sell their medicine. Before the industry gains social acceptance, it must be socially acceptable. The counter-culture movement behind the medicine must be kicked to the curb if patients are to have a serious voice for their health in Colorado.
Marijuana is medicine in Colorado right now, not marketable recreation.

The old adage holds true: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

When it comes to compliance, that plan is made and ready to be executed. The  iCompliance Manual, checklists, and supplementary documents are available now. Just call 719-638-1213 and an iComply representative will be happy to help answer any questions.

Posted in Compliance and Medical Cannabis Laws | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May Flowers Mature for Harvest By State LawTenders

Today marks the final day of this year’s legislative session. At midnight tonight, all proposed bills must have decisions on them made. For me, this means substantially less trips to Denver every week.

At the last minute, despite the “study” recommendation on HB 1261 (THC Dui Per Se Limit) from the Senate Judiciary Committee, this bill was revived. This put the whole community on stand by and on edge for the last 3 days of the session, since the Senate Appropriations Committee decided to reject the proposed amendments on Friday May 6.

On Monday May 9, the Senate voted to delay their vote on the bill and at 7pm they voted it down when more than 18 Senators rose against the bill. When the bill’s author Sen. King, called for a reversal of the vote, it failed 20-15. If only our politicians could be so understanding and sensitive of other cannabis legislation, we may be able to turn the tide of Colorado’s MMJ industry toward a brighter future.

I think they finally understand that 124,000 adults now have a voice about their health choice in cannabis.

In less fortunate news, the efforts against House Bill 11-1043 were less effective. The bill is known as the “MMJ Clean Up Bill” and is an extension of law made in House Bill 1284. Despite being called a cleanup bill, this law dirties the industry more than it cleans it up. The provision that caregivers must register with the State and be subject to inspection is in
direct violation of Amendment 20 which promises complete privacy of information.

It’s funny to think that this is the way politicians in areas with bans must now attempt to regulate their “industry”. Looking at 5 patients per caregiver at a time. I tried to warn them it would happen, but fear of a plant can make people do some stupid things.. like getting rid of the model they could monitor, tax, and regulate.

Does anyone else find it funny that the GOP and these conservative areas that banned regulated models are generally pro-local small business and less government intervention?

Ironic, considering the MMJ industry.

If Senator King would spend a little more time seeing how Grand Junction might benefit from having greenhouses next to vineyards, he could see how this industry IS a benefit to conservative values. After all, “I give unto thee ALL seed bearing plants” was a law long before the republicans controlled the House and we made cannabis laws.

Unfortunately, the “Clean Up Bill” wasn’t cleaned up as I asked and was passed 5/10/11. Hello Senators Letter – HB 1243 Clean up Bill

Finally, the State looked at House Bill 1250 again. This bill was originally a ban on edibles that turned into a legislative law to duplicate an administrative law requiring packaging for products. Let me explain. House Bill 1284 set up the MMED (Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division) of the Department of Revenue. In this, the industry becomes subject to the powers of regulatory government that has unlimited power to create rules. One of the rules going into effect already covers packaging and labeling. House Bill 1250 became the second law, legislatively, regarding the same subject: labeling of medical cannabis.

HB 1250 Update 5-11-11

If HB 1250 passes, we’re looking at a waste of tax payer dollars mandating legislative law on top of administrative regulation. Both laws are hindering to each other since administrative law becomes subject to State legislation and State legislators are harder to get to change the law than a regulatory administration. The State is also less informed about medical cannabis than the regulatory MMED.

So many laws, so little time. Stay tuned, add me on RSS and tell your patients and fellow citizens. Information and insight from my head to your eyes.

As always, contact your politicians and tell them what you think about the 2011 legislative session and about their laws on cannabis.

House Judiciary Committee:;;;;;;;;

Senate Judiciary Committee:
‘’; ‘’;‘’
‘’;‘’; ‘’;
‘’; ‘’;‘’

Other Senators:
‘’; ‘’
‘’; ‘’; ‘’;
‘’; ‘’;
‘’; ‘’

Posted in Politics and Medical Cannabis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

House Bill 1261 Update – MMJ Advocates Limit Government from Setting Limits

Monday April 18, was a trying battle with the Senate Judiciary committee over HB 1261. This legislation targets and threatens patients with a choice between a blood test or losing one’s license for a year. The idea of legislators is that cannabis inebriation and impairment can be determined conclusively at a level of 5 nanograms per milliliter of whole blood. The problem is that THC leeches from the fat cells of patients and can be detected above these levels even when the patient hasn’t used cannabis in many hours. The 5 ng/ml level cannot be correlated to impairment when physiologies, metabolisms, and dosages vary patient to patient.

Case in point, journalist William Breathes (strain critic for Westword) submitted his blood test registering 14 nanograms despite not using cannabis for 16 hours and being declared sober by a medical physician. This proof made claims by the State toxicologists seem arbitrary and downright incorrect. Private companies who test for the State were claiming that cannabis use is 4 times more dangerous when driving. How fair is it to have a private company with financial interest in blood testing testify on behalf of the State with these claims? In fact, the FDA recommends patients using Marinol should drive once acclimated to the effects of THC.

From WebMD about Marinol and Driving:

“Do not engage in activities requiring alertness and clear thinking, such as driving or using machinery, until you know how this medication affects you and until you are sure you can perform such activities safely.”

Fortunately, the State noticed these inconsistencies and lack of solid science. Colorado cannabis patients won a victory Monday when the committee voted 6 -3 to defer the bill for additional study before setting an arbitrary limit for patients. Here’s a copy of the letter I wrote to senators regarding this issue and details the summary I testified to on behalf of Colorado Springs patients at the Capitol.

HB1261 – Senate Judiciary Committee Letter

After it was all over, Senator Jeanne Nicholson had this to say about the letter and hearing:

“I listened carefully to all of the evidence and testimony presented at the committee hearing, and in the end decided that more research was needed in order for me to responsibly pass this legislation.  The Judiciary committee decided to form an exploratory committee to research this issue further.  This bill will still have to move through the senate and be referred back to the house so this legislation may continue to be amended and changed.  I thank you for all of the information you provided me with and for your participation.”

Letters and phone calls work and patients need to take the time to write their leaders as these issues arise. Stay tuned to the blog and copy these emails for standard contact next time a legislator threatens your rights as a patient, caregiver, and business owner.

United we stand, divided we fall.

House Judiciary Committee:;;;;;;;;

Senate Judiciary Committee:

‘’; ‘’; ‘’ ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’

Other Senators:
‘’; ‘’
‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’;
‘’; ‘’

As always, feel free to BCC me on any letters you send to our leaders, or email me if you have any questions:


As of May 9, the Senate voted to kill this bill in its entirety and Colorado became the first State to reject a proposed THC limit without study and science to back up the claims.

Although this is a great victory for patients, the medical cannabis community should still treat driving with responsibility and avoid driving if impaired.

Friends don’t let friends drive medicated.

Posted in Economics and Medical Cannabis, Politics and Medical Cannabis, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment