Regulations Leave New Medical Marijuana Users Waiting

By: Rick Montanez Email
By: Rick Montanez Email

New medical marijuana patients will have to wait more than a month before they can legally buy product from any Colorado dispensary. State officials have released a statement, it said the state will enforce a 35 day wait period for medical marijuana card approval.

The 35 day wait was a big conversation topic at the Medical Cannabis Expo in Colorado Springs Sunday. Expo attendees told 11 News the grace period is not fair. We found that some dispensaries are playing along with the new rules. But others are finding ways around that waiting period.

About 40 vendors set up shop at the Double Tree Hotel, to help people like MiMi Williams understand the med-pot industry. MiMi is preparing her life for a big change. "My organs are starting to fail, I need to find an alternative," MiMi said. She is on a strict regimen, taking about a dozen pills a day.

MiMi suffers from chronic pain, spinal cord problems and severe headaches. She said she had no idea, until she came to the expo, that she'd have to wait 35 days to be treated. "I don't think it's fair," she said. MiMi’s doctor has been recommending she use medical marijuana for the last two years.

"I believe, personally, it should be accessible almost immediately because that is a doctor/patient relationship,” said KC Stark, a former dispensary owner turned medical marijuana advocate. “The state should not stick their little fingers in it."

"The 35-day rule seems to be arbitrary, based not what's best for the patient, but perhaps what's best for the state," Stark said.

11 News has learned that many dispensaries are just ignoring the 35 day waiting period. "They're kind of bending the laws, going above and beyond for their patients, which is what their job is as a caregiver," said Shealyn Strode who was representing The Healthy Connection.

State officials have said if a new patient's medical marijuana application has not been approved or denied within those first 35 days, from the date it was mailed, then a center cannot sell the med-pot.

If a center or dispensary does sell before that grace period is over they can be face administrative or criminal sanctions.

Since the state is so backlogged with applications, when the 35 day grace period is over the patient can be treated by a dispensary until the state says otherwise.

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