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Colorado lawmakers passed extensive law tightening the rules on medical marijuana and mandating research into the psychological effects of high-THC marijuana products.
On June 8, the State House unanimously approved the Senate’s amendments to House Bill 1317, passed the measure by the Colorado Legislature, and sent it to Governor Jared Polis. The bill, which attracted a lot of attention from both sides of the marijuana gang, was heavily amended following its introduction by House Speaker Alec Garnett in May and amended 29 times during the House and Senate discussions.
If signed by Polis – his government has not commented on the move – the bill will add several additional layers of protocol for medical marijuana recommendations, including a required THC dosage level and additional medical and mental health exams. The move would also introduce new packaging requirements for commercial marijuana concentrates and create an expanded tracking system for patient purchases.
Additional state restrictions on concentrated THC products were pushed by lobbies representing parents, public educators, and health care professionals when Colorado health professionals declared a state of emergency in the mental health of young people and data from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment showed that the consumption of extracted marijuana products among adolescents more than doubled from 2015 to 2019.
Despite ongoing problems regarding details of state research on THC and mental health, the majority of the recreational marijuana industry supported the bill’s call for a potency cap on extracted marijuana products circulating in the state capitol earlier this year. Under the passed law, all marijuana concentrate products, both medical and recreational, would fall under the new packaging or labeling rules created by the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division, but the final rules will likely be much easier than the first version from Garnett’s bill, which had suggested that all THC concentrates be individually packaged in servings of ten per gram.
“We sat at the table for five months working with policymakers and stakeholders to create a bill that included good regulation and balanced public policies,” said Chuck Smith, chairman of the board of Colorado Leads, one of the state’s largest marijuana trading organizations. “Those of us in the cannabis industry have proactively identified areas in law where lawmakers could make policy improvements to further protect teenagers in Colorado, such as: B. Limiting the amount of marijuana products 18-21 year olds with medical marijuana cards can buy on a daily basis. “
Although organizations like Colorado Leads and Marijuana Industry Group endorsed the bill and got involved in the stakeholder process, some medical marijuana patients and doctors fear that their communication with lawmakers has been restricted at best, according to the Colorado Cannabis Clinicians, a health care group-care practitioner who work with medical marijuana.
“Proponents of this bill seem to believe that the 5 percent of registered medical marijuana patients ages 18-20 are more likely to abuse cannabis concentrates and illegally give them to minors. Unfortunately, their solution is to restrict all medical marijuana “in the future,” the CCC wrote in a letter to Polis, urging him to veto HB 1317. The letter warned that if the law were to be as written in Force kicks in, it “would end” Colorado’s medical marijuana program.
Medical marijuana advocates like the CCC believe that adding dosage and usage rules to a medical marijuana recommendation results in a prescription, and prescribing doctors must register with the Drug Enforcement Administration who prescribe Schedule I drugs – a federal label that still applies to cannabis.
HB 1317 also requires doctors to recommend medical marijuana in their respective areas of activity, which opponents of the bill would likely require additional doctor visits.
“HB21-1317 seeks to falsely limit the scope of cannabis providers by not allowing them to self-diagnose patients, forcing patients to pay two doctor visits: one for diagnosis and a second for medical marijuana recommendation” said the CCC argued.
However, some medical marijuana doctors feel that more detailed information should be included in patient recommendations.
According to Dr. Jordan Tishler, President of the Association of Cannabis Specialists, giving dosage and consumption instructions to a medical marijuana parent should be a physician’s responsibility and should come under informed consent, a federal law that requires physicians to provide all relevant information about them Risks and benefits of the procedure for the patient.
“It is not illegal to be specific about products and their details, and we have to recognize that disregarding these things violates informed consent,” says Tishler. “And if [a medical marijuana product] works or not, we have some basis for understanding what is going on. “
While Tishler supports this aspect of the bill, he also believes that HB 1317 is generally harmful to medical marijuana patients, and agrees that some patients may find it difficult to find a doctor willing to give marijuana recommendations.
“It is advisable not to pass a new law, but to use the existing laws to review the doctor’s actions,” says Tishler. “It won’t do anything positive. It will make life harder for many.”
Medical marijuana concentrate sales limits will also be lowered significantly under HB 1317, and potential patients between the ages of 18 and 20 – a factor that the bill sponsors believe is contributing to youth consumption – would face additional barriers to getting a medical marijuana card receive .
Under the bill, $ 3 million would go to the Colorado School of Public Health for an education campaign about the use of adolescents and the extraction of THC, with an additional $ 1 million annually through fiscal 2023- ’24 a CSPH- Review of existing research and further studies on the effects of marijuana on mental health.
In another $ 1.7 million project, coroners would report the results of THC toxicology screenings of suicide, overdose, and accidental death in people under 26 to the Colorado Violent Death Reporting System annually.
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Thomas Mitchell has been a cannabis-related writer for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate, and general news for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman, and Fox Sports. He is currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.