Colorado

Mar 26, 2014 7:05 AM by Eugene Daniels

Pot caregiver crackdown rekindled in Colorado

DENVER (AP) - Colorado health authorities on Tuesday revived an attempt to crack down on medical marijuana caregivers by announcing a public meeting to discuss placing limits on the people designated to grow pot for patients.

The state Health Department wants the Legislature to force high-volume caregivers to go through the same background checks required of commercial growers.

Colorado has about 5,000 registered caregivers, a designation created in the 2000 medical marijuana amendment that remains in place, even though the drug is now legal for all adults. Most caregivers grow pot for just a few patients, but some have waivers allowing them to grow hundreds of plants for more than six people.

The Health Department, which manages the state medical marijuana registry, wants a hard limit of 30 plants - six each for five patients, spokesman Mark Salley said Tuesday.

The limit was among the recommendations in a state audit last year. But it appeared unlikely earlier this month that it would receive legislative consideration because House Speaker Mark Ferrandino said he wanted to see an effort to talk to caregivers first.

Jason Warf, a patient and lobbyist who represents caregivers, said the Health Department's town hall meeting seemed to be a last-minute attempt to placate lawmakers, not a genuine attempt to listen to caregivers.

"This is really just about showing face, to look like they listened to us," Warf said.

Salley said the bill has not been formally introduced and won't be until after the town hall meeting. The bill would also grant government contractors similar access to marijuana registry details as department employees, Salley said.

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