Tsk, tsk. Colorado, the birthplace of legal marijuana, isn’t making the grade for medical marijuana access

by Amanda Push

Colorado, the birthplace of legalized marijuana, isn’t getting the cannabis grades it should be.

The state received a “B-” from Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a national advocacy group for cannabis, according to Westword. Just like a dreaded school report, ASA hands out grades on an A-F scale.

While Colorado failed to score high on patient rights and protections, the state still managed to scrape up a B- because of Colorado’s patient access and functionality.

“One of the big problems we have here in Colorado is that we changed the constitution to allow medical marijuana and later recreational marijuana, but we didn’t make corresponding changes to the Colorado Controlled Substances Act,” Martha Montemayor, director of Cannabis Clinicians Colorado, told Westword.

Since the ASA began issuing in 2015, Colorado hasn’t managed to get a grade above a “B.” The advocacy group doles out scores based on patient rights and civil protections, ease of navigation, access to medicine, functionality, consumer safety and provider requirements, and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The ASA doesn’t hold back when it comes to these report cards.

In Colorado’s case, the bumps seem to come down to legislation. When it comes to patient rights and civil protections, the state only scored 62 out of 100 possible points, and 63.67/100 in consumer safety and provider requirements.

“Not all of the state’s 2019 reforms were positive, including a new law setting limits on the amount of medical cannabis products that a legal retailer may sell to an individual in one day,” the report stated. “For flower, the limit is two ounces, for concentrate, the limit is 20 grams, though the law allows a physician to provide an exemption to the limits. The imposition of these limits and need for a physician exemption impose unnecessary burdens on patient access, and ASA recommends that these new rules be revisited to optimize convenience of access for the state’s patients.”

However, Governor Jared Polis was a big factor in the ASA’s positive feedback.

“In Governor Polis’ first year in office, he did not disappoint, signing into law measures permitting cannabis delivery to medical and adult-use consumers from licensed retail storefronts, as well as approving legislation that authorizes cannabis hospitality spaces. Under the new law, medical and adult-use retail facilities may permit onsite consumption of cannabis products subject to local government approval,” the report stated.

In Colorado’s defense, however, Oregon was the only state to come back with an “A.” Illinois and Maine scored in second with grades of “B+.” Colorado has 83,306 registered medical marijuana patients and 449 medical marijuana retail locations still in operation.

Amanda Push

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