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.