The two controversial high-profile medical marijuana bills introduced this session keep being pushed down into the works of the legislative process. A bill seeking to regulate dispensaries hasn’t made it out of committee and a Senate bill seeking to define doctor-patient relationships introduced the first week of the session has only reached a second reading in the House, its third reading scheduled for Tuesday was laid over, again. Does this slow motion action have anything to do with the fact that state Attorney General John Suthers released a letter to members of the General Assembly February 5 summarizing his position, shared by law enforcement, that one of the bills doesn’t align with the will of the voters expressed in Amendment 20, which legalized medical marijuana a decade ago?
Also in the release is notice that the attorney general may not be able to attend the then-scheduled but still not held committee hearing for one of the bills.
Rep Beth McCann, D-Denver, believes Sen. Chris Romer’s bill regulating the doctor-patient relationship, which she co-sponsored, is a solid measure. She told the Colorado Independent the state needs to move into the wild and woolly reaches of Colorado pot country:
“We need to make sure that the constitutional amendment is being applied the way it was intended and it’s really that the whole process is supposed to be for people who have debilitating illnesses and need a certain type of medical marijuana,” she said. “I think we just have concerns about abuses we’ve seen in the system.
“This piece of legislation doesn’t deal with dispensary regulation. It is really directed at the doctor patient relationship. We want to make sure the doctors are independent and really making informed decisions about the use of marijuana. I think it’s really important for us to have a regulatory mechanism to make sure the constitution is applied the way it was intended.”
Suthers isn’t so sure. Although he supports Senate Bill 109, the bill concerning dispensary business, House Bill 1284, in its current state gives the Attorney General pause. In any case, for now, Sen. Romer’s bill is set for debate next week. We’ll see what other lawmakers think on the matter then…. if it doesn’t get pushed back into committee or filed away in a desk drawer.