Medical-marijuana activists are up in arms over a new policy that requires patients who just applied to the state's medical-marijuana registry to wait 35 days before they can shop at a dispensary.
Matt Cook, the Department of Revenue enforcement official who oversees the state's new medical-marijuana regulations, said the position paper, written Monday, solves the riddle of how to handle sales at a dispensary to patients without a medical-marijuana card.
The state is months behind in issuing cards. State law says that applications not processed within 35 days will be considered approved until the state can get to them. But dispensary owners were unsure whether that meant they had to wait 35 days to sell to those patients or whether proof of application alone was enough to get patients in the door.
Cook said patients have legal protection to possess marijuana from the time they receive the required doctor's note, but he said dispensary sales are different.
"Constitutionally, patients have protection from Day One," he said, "but there's nothing that provides any protection to the center."
The decision most acutely affects new patients because renewing patients would be able to send in their renewals earlier. Medical-marijuana activists said the new rule disregards the needs of patients.
"This is extremely unfair to patients," Danyel Joffe, a medical-marijuana attorney, said in a statement sent out Thursday by the Cannabis Therapy Institute. "Other medical patients do not have to wait 35 days before they can buy their medication."
By John Ingold
The Denver Post