Colorado Keeps Current Caregiver Rules


On September 16, 2014, the Colorado Board of Health heard arguments and subsequently voted 6-1 against a proposal to change Colorado’s medical marijuana caregiver laws. For those of you that don’t know what a caregiver is, in Colorado, medical marijuana patients can designate an individual to grow and provide medical marijuana for them; those people are known are caregivers.

Under current laws, a designated caregiver can service up to five patients; any more than five and a waiver must be attained in order to service more. Colorado cannabis regulators wanted to change the laws to curb the potential of abuse. Under the proposed changes, caregivers could still see up to five patients, but caregivers would be given a hard cap of no more than 10 patients per caregiver.

Jason Cranford, a caregiver in Colorado, whose patients are mostly children, was among the critics of the proposed changes. Out of the 2,896 caregivers in Colorado, only four have more than 10 patients; of those four, Cranford has the most, with nearly 90 patients. Cranford and many of his patients testified before the Colorado Board of Health to protest the changes.

According to CBS news, Janea Cox, mother of the child who inspired the CBD-only strand Haleigh’s Hope, testified before the board, “I cannot be one of those dropped. My child will die.” Other mothers also gave emotional testimony.

When Cranford stood before the board he insisted that he provides essential medicine. When one of the board members suggested that the families grow their own medical marijuana, Cranford replied, “These children are in wheelchairs. Do you not see this? Do you think they have time to sit in a garden?” This was met with thunderous applause from the parents who support Cranford.

“What you’re asking me to do is put children’s blood on my hands and I’m not willing to do that,” Cranford said. Then, he vowed that if the board voted to change the rules that he would continue servicing all his patients regardless of the law.

In lieu of accepting the proposed changes, the board gave into the emotional arguments of Cranford and his supporters and simply opted to make it more difficult to acquire a waiver.

It was a mistake to reject the proposed changes to the caregiver laws; and while the world won’t end because of it, it does send the wrong message to the rest of the industry. When you cut through all of the emotion, there are few arguments to make in favor of keeping the rules.

Instead of asking why Cranford is so special, why only he can provide medical marijuana as opposed to thousands of other caregivers, the board was robbed of its senses by the dreaded ‘C’ word: Children.

I hate when people shroud themselves in children for protection; and that’s what happened at this hearing. Whether marijuana prohibitionists or supporters, it is disgraceful to parade children around in order to win an argument.

Let’s be honest with ourselves: no children would have died if Colorado’s rules changed. At worst, it might have been a hassle to find another caregiver, but does anyone really believe that these parents would have a hard time finding someone to grow marijuana for them in Colorado? Seriously?

It is a shame that the Colorado Board of Health bought the emotional arguments of Cranford and his patients, but at the end of the day this won’t ruin the cannabis industry. It does, however, send the wrong message to the cannabis industry.

Hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries across the country are subject to heavy taxes, fees and added scrutiny. Is it fair that they have to spend so much money to stay in business while Jason Cranford acts like a one-man dispensary? Maybe. Maybe not. At least we’re thinking of the children.


Source: CBS News

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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