Misinformation in the name of freedom has long since been a problem of the government and a struggle for the people. The promise of liberty has been offered in the name of progress countless times in American history. The rights promised to people are later limited, restricted, or taken away by political agendas, fear, and social pressures. More often than not, the people lack a united voice to successfully oppose their government. They become victims of oppression instead of epitomes of liberty.
This is exactly what medical cannabis patients face with their rights in Colorado today. Because of the taboo nature of this medicine and its federal prohibition for the last seventy-three years, patients face social pressure despite being given the constitutional right to medical cannabis over ten years ago. Passed by their fellow voters, Amendment 20 is a Colorado constitutional right passed by the people out of compassion for their fellow citizen. Currently, Colorado remains the only state to guarantee this right in its constitution, for its people.
The medical benefit of the cannabis plant is apparent for those who know a patient finding relief in this alternative treatment. Medical Cannabis is recognized nationally by the American Medical Association for its benefits. Cannabis has been a treatment for hundreds of conditions, across a breadth of civilizations and cultures, for over five thousand years of human history. Every year, more and more states legalize cannabis for medicinal use, out of human compassion.
Every Coloradoan is guaranteed the right to choose a safer form of medicine if we should ever have a debilitating chronic condition affecting our lives. The basic human right to happiness and the pursuit thereof is symbolized in the better quality of life this plant brings to the patients who choose to use it.
Choice is the key issue when it comes to the battle for patient rights. Choice is synonymous with the Amendment right and the personal freedom to choose what’s best for one’s health. Patient demand has created a natural, free, “white-market” for medical cannabis. The State government recently passed House Bill 1284 to regulate this new and quickly growing industry.
HB 1284 regulates the existing market by requiring clean criminal background checks, extensive fees, and exasperating paperwork (over 6lbs) from medical cannabis centers and their owners. It establishes a regulatory administration of government, like the FDA, to ensure medicine quality, and to set standards for market participants. The regulations are typical of short-sighted government as HB 1284 allows a legislative loophole for “banning” medical center businesses by local governments.
As a result, many governments across the state have chosen the ban option including Grand Junction, Aurora, Pueblo, Superior, Vail, and Centennial. Aurora saw a 217% increase in neighborhood grow operations with 40% of their police resources now focused on identifying legitimate operations from illegitimate ones.
Salida recently overturned their ban recognizing the potential lawsuit involved in banning a guaranteed right “to dispense” medical cannabis. How can one dispense without a dispensary model? This is akin to saying we should vote to ban gun stores because they aren’t specifically covered in the 2nd Amendment.
This faulty logic is exactly the rhetoric being supported by misinformation and by various politicians mongering fear among citizens over private, medical use of cannabis.
The opposition misleads citizens and encourages votes for issues like “1-A” which proposes a ban of medical cannabis centers, without a grandfathering clause, in unincorporated El Paso county. Millions of dollars, thousands of patients, and every citizen is at risk by this measure. The misinformation of lawmakers has people blind to seeing that banning regulated centers does not get rid of medical cannabis from society.
In fact, the result is quite the opposite.
Banning centers causes Amendment 20 law to supersede House Bill 1284 regulation. The default “caregiver model” in the Amendment is an unregulated, untaxed, and unseen distribution of medical cannabis. Patients will be forced to use to anonymous caregivers that CANNOT BE CONTROLLED to exercise their liberty.
As seen in Aurora’s dilemma, a ban is an obvious mistake.
With issues like 1-A on the ballot, El Paso County government is allowing non-patients to decide how patients exercise a liberty already guaranteed to them. This is morally wrong as patients have economically decided they prefer to access their medicine from secure and regulated facilities. Who are we to deny them their right or the right of business to help them?
Everyone should ask their politicians this same question when they refuse to see how their actions impact people’s lives.
Because this is a right guaranteed to patients, all “1-A” will do is close secure businesses, abandon jobs, vacate commercial real estate, and force thousands of patients to find medicine from neighborhood caregivers (who are restricted by HB 1284 to a max of 5 patients and cannot be regulated).
“1-A” simply changes the distribution model for medical cannabis; from a little over one hundred centers to thousands of caregivers in our neighborhoods.
Citizens should know medical cannabis from a center is preferable to making patients drive into residential neighborhoods to buy medical marijuana. Vote No on 1-A to protect the rights of patients and business owners from even more government intervention.
Visit http://www.citizensforsafercommunities.org/ for more information and to help protect your community from the law of unintended consequences.
 Colorado Springs Business Journal, Greenberg, Allen