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by Bridget Seritt
Media coverage of Colorado’s quasi-legalization has led to the impression that its citizens have safe, affordable access to medical cannabis everywhere in the state. Sensationalist stories about funding schools, scholarships, and homeless-aid programs have made international news. What isn’t being told are the stories of patients still being persecuted, prohibition seeping back into legislation, and that reality is a very different picture. Here is the story, straight from the front lines of the Front Range:
Colorado medical was voted in around 2001. For 11 years, they had a functioning, and relatively acceptable medical marijuana program. Patients had the option of growing doctor recommended plant counts, dispensaries developed a system, and most patients had reasonable access what they needed. In 2012, Colorado celebrated a victory with the passage of A64, their recreational marijuana ballot initiative. This changed everything. I am absolutely for descheduling of cannabis, and know that cannabis can serve as a safe recreational alternative. However, legalizing recreational changed the face of everything medical, from the industry to the legislation. Washington and Oregon have also faced these same challenges, and quietly restricted their programs as well. This change is why patients are once again, on the steps of the State Capitol and in their city’s streets here in Colorado and elsewhere.
Colorado now faces the threat of a prohibition reintroduction. Four years of legalization has had some expected speed bumps, and propaganda campaigns have fueled unrest in non-cannabis users. All along I-25 in places like Pueblo, Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Spring, Amendment 20 has come under fire. The strategy being used by law makers is to slowly chip away at the state amendments. This has gone virtually unnoticed. What the news doesn’t tell you is that Colorado is a Home Rule state, and many local municipalities have decided to “opt out” of cannabis as much as they can. Local municipalities can change what they don’t approve of (or they claim will be harmful to their city), making legal cannabis impossible to legally use. These decisions do not require a vote and are made by less than a dozen people who don’t necessarily have to follow the will of the people. When looking over the committees and work groups formed to design these policies, very few had consistent patient input. Everyone from the cannabis industry to law enforcement to neighborhoods were represented, but the patient voice was noticeably absent.
Most of the local municipalities in Colorado have latched on to Home Rule and attacked every part of A-20 they could. Home grow rights have been virtually wiped out along the I-25 corridor. For this reason, several brave families have decided to stand up and challenge these policies in court. The Lockwood family has a special needs son that requires a 72 plant count in order to live at home. His count is a minimum of 72, for 2 reasons. Their son Calvin has to constantly rotate between 19 different strains to keep his system from adapting to any one cannabinoid/terpene profile. Without the constant rotation, Calvin cannot attend school, does not sleep, and eats non-edible household items uncontrollably. After the Colorado Springs City Council passed a maximum 12 plant home grow ordinance, the Lockwood’s teamed up with the Kaiser’s and started litigation. The Kaiser’s son Ezra was in hospice waiting to pass away when he found full spectrum phytocannabinoid therapy. Ezra also has a plant count in the 70’s, so his family can maintain the strains that save his life. While the case was originally going to include only Colorado Springs based defendants, the case is so strong that they have decided to go state wide.
As a result, other families across Southern Colorado have joined in, and families across the state have that same opportunity! Right now, those counties north of El Paso are not represented. It only takes one family per city/county to represent the whole area and change these laws! The law suit is already paid for, as the families have crowd sourced their funding! To join, you must:
- Be a registered medical patient.
- Have a plant count exceeding your local ordinance, or a total house plant count that exceeds the local regulations.
- Be willing to get and provide medical records ASAP.
- Create a bio about why you use cannabis, how you treat, why the extended plant count is necessary, and consequences of losing access to your plant count.
- Provide a copy of both the front and back of your MED registration card.
- Provide a copy of the doctor’s recommended plant count.
- All contact information: Name, date of birth, address, email, phone number.
Patients in all counties and cities in Colorado have the opportunity to be a voice for the future, save thousands of lives, and be a part of history. We have the potential to lose access to medical cannabis if we do not stand united and challenge poorly designed policy.
CONTACT: Canna-Parent Resource Connection to inquire more about the lawsuit or to join at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bridget Seritt is a mother of 3 and grand mother of 2. She started cannabinoid therapy in 2014 for 3 major autoimmune diseases after difficulty finding pharmacies that could fill her prescriptions. By 2015, Mrs. Seritt was off 9 prescriptions and had lost 60 pounds. As a result, Mrs. Seritt founded Ganga for Autoimmune Arthritis, Canna-Patient Resource Connection, and wrote The Ganja Guide to Autoimmune Diseases: Getting Started with Medical Marijuana.
Feature Image: CCO License