Right now, 15 states are grappling with how best to implement the will of the voters when it comes to regulating medical marijuana. Those states would do well to look to Colorado as an example of how industry and regulators can work together to address the needs of patients. This process has been long and difficult, but we continue to make progress.
I am the Executive Director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group (MMIG). MMIG is a Colorado-based small business trade association. We represent medical marijuana centers, marijuana-infused products manufacturers, and medical marijuana grow facilities. We promote sensible, reasonable regulation of medical marijuana businesses. In addition, we advocate for policy that ensures patients receive safe, legal access to quality medicine.
As a trade association, MMIG welcomes sensible regulation and the responsibility that comes with it. All of our members are required to sign a code of ethics. The code of ethics requires that members abide by state and local law, and adhere to the October 20, 2009 “Ogden Memorandum” issued by the United States Department of Justice. The “Ogden Memorandum” states that it is unlikely the Department of Justice will use federal resources to prosecute individuals that are in “clear and unambiguous compliance” with state law governing medical marijuana.
MMIG was created last year after the state legislature passed HB 1284, the first-ever state law regulating medical marijuana. HB 1284 created a rulemaking framework for medical marijuana in Colorado. The bill passed by wide margins with bipartisan support in both the Colorado State House and Senate.
After HB 1284 passed, the Colorado Department of Revenue and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment established advisory committees that included patients, patient advocates, dispensary owners, and public officials. The advisory committees worked in partnership with the Department of Revenue and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to set up rules and regulations, which are the most extensive in the nation.
The result of this year-long process is HB 1043, a bill working its way through the legislature this year. HB 1043 is a cleanup bill which addresses many of the concerns raised by the Department of Revenue and the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. In addition, HB 1043 would authorize research and development, which would help us learn more about the science of medical marijuana and how medical marijuana helps patients.
The legislative process is not perfect, and it involves compromise. A good compromise means that many people do not get exactly what they want. However, I think we are establishing the right framework in Colorado, and I believe other states will follow our lead.
via : The Huffington Post
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