Future medical marijuana users will have more hoops to jump through before being licensed for use. Governor Bill Ritter recently signed two bills to regulate the industry in Colorado.
This also comes as cops in Aurora crack-down on a doctor for allegedly giving out medical marijuana licenses too easily. Cops say Dr. Manuel Aquino-Villaman did not give physical exams before approving medical marijuana recommendations to the undercover agents.
Getting a medical marijuana recommendation was an easy feat several months ago. 11 News did a hidden camera investigation last November. An undercover photojournalist received his license without showing any medical records and his only lasted a few minutes.
Dr. Aquino-Villaman’s visits with the undercover cops reportedly lasted a few minutes as well.
“It's gonna sting for sure," said Patrick Warren, who co-owns Mountain Made Meds in Colorado Springs. He told 11 News with new regulations getting a license will not be as easy as before."You're not going to just walk in and get a medical marijuana license,” Warren said. “You have to have legitimate paperwork and a legitimate illness."
A new law brings more thorough paperwork and requires at least one physical exam.
"It shouldn't be an issue if you really need the medicine," said Warren.
He thinks the arrest of Dr. Aquino-Villaman is just a way for cops to show they mean business when it comes to regulation. But, he said, for those who follow the rules it shows a need. "It's going to solidify that people that are using this medication do really need it and do truly benefit from it," Warren said.
Allegations against Dr. Aquino-Villaman are not the only worry for cops in Colorado. A loophole at the state level is giving med-pot applicants access before their license is approved. That's because there's a huge backlog of applications at the Department of Health waiting for approval. Applicants are basically given the go-ahead, at least in the beginning.
Dr. Aquino-Villaman is free on $6,000 bail and faces charges of attempting to influence a public servant and conspiracy to distribute marijuana.