Colorado medical marijuana is an awesome deal for those that participate in the program. It isn’t overly difficult for a patient to get their recommendation, and once they have it there are a plethora of dispensaries available to them with hundreds of different products. On top of that, they also have every edible and concentrate you can imagine and for a price that you can’t believe. Without the additional sin tax that recreational cannabis has, medicinal cannabis is relatively cheap. Colorado’s system might be a little too sweet when it comes to some of their relaxed policies. One of the most questionable aspects of the medicinal marijuana system in Colorado is that patients can get approved to grow 75 plants or more for just personal use. Recently the state Medical Board decided to try to crack down on doctors that have been handing out those sanctions like candy. They may have been a bit quick to act, however.
Recently the Colorado Medical Board went after four doctors in particular that they believe have recommended 75 plant grows to more than 1,500 patients. This is a historic case because it is the first time the Medical Board has taken action against doctors for over recommending on a cannabis grow before. A judge in Colorado didn’t agree with the board’s decision to suspend the doctors and has overturned it because the doctors got no chance to defend themselves. While these four doctors may have skated free for now, I think it is clear that the Medical Board was attempting to fix a legitimate trafficking issue. In recent years, the number of personal plants that a patient can have has continued to increase. The typical 6 plants that a patient is allotted would probably enough for smoking purposes, but with the rising popularity of edibles and concentrates some patients have argued that they need way more product to make their medicines. That might be true, but the board believes that a jump from 6 plants to 75 is drastic. Even if you need multiple plants in rotation to deal with a new harvest every 3 to 4 months, that could be a lot of weed for one person. The board claimed that if a person were actually going to consume 75 plants worth of cannabis each year they would have to be smoking, cooking, or dabbing nearly $300,000 worth of cannabis in one year. Not only does it sound entirley implausible for someone to need that much medicinal marijuana for personal use, but it also highlights the temptation to sell your extra cannabis on the black market. The board isn’t taking the realities of growing into account here, because the obviously the size of the plants is a big factor.
It is a glaring problem in this part of the country that thousands of pounds of black market cannabis are leaving Colorado each year to be sold in neighboring states. The Medical Board believes we will never be able to stomp out this problem when we are legally allowing our citizens to grow crazy amounts of weed that would be virtually impossible for a single person to consume. I know it is easier to just hope that all the other states will get on board with recreational cannabis and the trafficking problem will solve itself, but that might take years and this problem can’t be ignored. I think we can expect to see the State Medical Board continue to crack down on doctors that are abusing the system. Maybe once doctors realize that their entire career is on the line when they are making these recommendations they will be a little more conservative in how many plants they recommend. Currently the state records show that nearly 4,000 people in Colorado can grow over 25 plants, with almost 500 of those being allowed to grow 99. It will be interesting to see how the next few months play out between doctors and the Colorado Medical Board.