Although marijuana was legalized for recreational use in January, Colorado health officials have recently enacted a crackdown on medical marijuana patients who grow more than the standard number of marijuana plants.
Medical marijuana law in Colorado allows MMJ patients to grow up to six plants for their own use. If more is medically necessary, then patients are allowed to grow more plants. Now, the Colorado Health Department is requiring doctors who recommended the extra plants and the patients who grow them to provide more medical documentation on why they need extra marijuana plants.
In addition to providing medical information about the patients, the health department is requiring doctors to provide studies that show the patients’ medical conditions require extra medical marijuana. At a recent town hall meeting in Denver, Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director of the health department, argued the health department needs more information if a doctor is going to declare extra marijuana as medically necessary.
At the same town hall meeting, Dr. Wolk introduced a proposed bill that would strictly limit medical marijuana caregivers to serving a maximum of five patients and growing no more than six plants per patient. This announcement was met with a lot of backlash.
Medical marijuana caregivers grow, harvest, and process cannabis for patients who can’t do it themselves. In Colorado, there are roughly 3,300 medical marijuana caregivers. Of those, 24 serve more than five patients. One caregiver serves 82 patients.
James Clark, Jr., a caregiver in Akron, argues this is an unfair ruling because there are few caregivers in his area. He argues it is hurtful to people who are very sick. Other advocates of medical marijuana reason that higher plant counts are necessary to make edible marijuana products and concentrates.
Supporters of the bill, however, worry that the excess plants are being used for illegal marijuana sales. Only time will tell how this debate will end.