Kevin Fisher, co-owner of Steamboat Springs dispensary Rocky Mountain Remedies, checks on a recently installed video camera inside his business. New regulations, which include more video monitoring of the operations of medical marijuana dispensaries, will go into effect starting Friday.

Photo by John F. Russell

Kevin Fisher, co-owner of Steamboat Springs dispensary Rocky Mountain Remedies, checks on a recently installed video camera inside his business. New regulations, which include more video monitoring of the operations of medical marijuana dispensaries, will go into effect starting Friday.

Medical marijuana rules take effect Friday

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— Colorado’s medical marijuana businesses are subject to new rules Friday that are meant to regulate the business that opponents think has operated without any oversight.

Dispensaries, grow operations and infused-product makers must be in compliance with 77 pages of new Colorado Department of Revenue rules drafted after the state adopted new legislation in 2010 and updated this year, or their owners could face fines or criminal penalties.

The rules range from extensive security provisions to employee identification requirements. The Department of Revenue’s medical marijuana enforcement officers also will start to inspect businesses in conjunction with the new rules.

Owners of Steamboat Springs dispensaries, which have operated since fall 2009, said the new rules wouldn’t change much about how they operate — though they say becoming fully compliant cost them each a lot of money.

Legitimate or not?

The owners said they hoped the new rules and additional enforcement would help validate them as legitimate businesses operating in the community.

“They say we need regulations like alcohol and tobacco,” Rocky Mountain Remedies co-owner Kevin Fisher said about opponents to Steamboat’s medical marijuana businesses. “There are cigarette vending machines. What do you mean? So, hopefully this starts to shift the tide away from their regulatory stance and they can see that this, in fact, is one of the most regulated industries in the state and, by far, state laws in the country.

“There’s nothing close to this.”

Colorado voters approved the use of marijuana for people with certain medical conditions and a doctor’s recommendation by supporting Amendment 20 in 2000. In Routt County, 65 percent of voters supported the measure.

The state’s medical marijuana industry took off in 2009, when the number of patients and businesses exploded. At the time, the state didn’t cap the number of patients a caregiver could serve, and the federal government said it wouldn’t use resources against people in compliance with state medical marijuana laws.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, as of May 31, there were 127,444 medical marijuana cardholders, including 1,883 in the county. That’s about 5 percent of the county’s 23,509 residents.

Steamboat Springs police Capt. Joel Rae said although the new rules were an improvement, he’s not convinced they’re the answer to clean up the state’s medical marijuana industry.

“It purely appears out of control, and this isn’t going to do anything to slow that down,” Rae said.

He said the state needs to start keeping “rogue doctors from writing bogus prescriptions” and work its way toward cardholders turning around and selling what they bought from dispensaries on the street.

A difference of opinion

Dan Hartman, director of the Department of Revenue’s medical marijuana enforcement division, said that when his office is fully staffed, 27 enforcement officers will work out of four regional offices across the state. He said eventually they will meet with medical marijuana business owners monthly.

They will address requirements about hours of operation, displaying licenses, employee identification badges, labeling, storage, transportation, cleanliness and waste disposal, among others.

Hartman said the most significant changes will be extensive security requirements, including surveillance cameras that can be accessed at any time by the state, and tagging plants with radio-frequency identification tags.

“Between tracking and having a database that tracks the seed-to-sale inventory and the video part of it, we really bring a lot of validity to the industry,” he said. “If a complaint happens, we can go back in time to tapes or electronic images that we can verify that it didn’t happen or that it did happen.”

Hartman called Friday a “milestone” for the state’s medical marijuana industry.

Steamboat resident Lisa Watts, who helped start a group to oppose local medical marijuana businesses, disagrees.

“For me, this kind of thing gives me no comfort. It’s a band-aid type effort,” she said about the new rules. “This is a mess. … I just think it’s a huge misrepresentation to the public that they have a grip on this, and they don’t.”

Rules could be moot

Local businesses’ need to comply with the new rules could be short-lived.

Steamboat voters will consider a ballot measure in November to ban all medical marijuana businesses. The Routt County Board of Commissioners banned all future medical marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas of the county June 21.

County commissioners also referred a question to the Nov-

ember ballot that will allow residents to decide whether to ban Milner dispensary Aloha’s.

D & C Medical Marijuana and Therapeutic Massage co-owner Charlie Magnuson said he hopes local residents understand that a ban would result in a return to an untaxed, unregulated black market.

“I hope it changes the attitude from where people were saying it was like the wild, wild West,” he said about the rules. “Before, there wasn’t any enforcement. You had to police yourselves. It’s not like that anymore. Now they’re enforcing us. I hope people realize it’s better that the Department of Revenue regulates us. I hope they don’t ban it in November.”

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

freerider 3 years, 5 months ago

Keeping pot illegal just keeps the money in the pockets of the cartels

Nothing changes except where the money goes ...guns , WMD'S , power , assault rifle's

Anti marijuana = pro cartel support

arrogance and ignorance over a plant , pathetic police state mentality to rule with a whip and a chain

might as well bring back the inquisition and witch hunts

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rhys jones 3 years, 5 months ago

These are the dying squawks of a doomed ideology.

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lessworkmoreskiing 3 years, 5 months ago

JUST LEGALIZE IT!!!!!!!!!

Aren't there better things we can spend our time on?

WTF

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Glenn Little II 3 years, 5 months ago

Time to Legalize Marijuana that's correct.. That will be the next thing we vote on after this. I will always have safe access to marijuana even if the shops close down. You can send away the circus but you can't kill all the clowns!

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rhys jones 3 years, 5 months ago

Just talked to a friend tonight, who can't afford the license, though he well deserves it. He doesn't have a problem finding his meds. This is all so much talk.

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rhys jones 3 years, 5 months ago

And the money ain't going south or east -- it's all staying here.

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rhys jones 3 years, 5 months ago

Only difference is whether Big Bro gets his share... don't matter to me.

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Duster 3 years, 5 months ago

Freerider the money has always stayed in SB. The addicts are now getting thier fix from "legitimate businesses trying to serve the needs of the community". NOT!

Skif who cares what you do in your own home. Just don't hide behind MMJ laws to get you next bowl.

Highwat go back to the kitchen and take the chairlift. Your comments about "BIG Bro" getting his share and your friend's problem with a licsence pale in comparisson with what our community is having to put up.

The day of reckoning is fast approaching. 124 days and counting.

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mmjPatient22 3 years, 5 months ago

Dust-

Are those the same "124" days that we had to look forward to yesterday?

If you're going to be the new daily douche, at least get your figures right.

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rhys jones 3 years, 5 months ago

God put the Miracle Cure here, not for us to squabble about, but to enjoy, and use to our benefit. It is assisting me through some serious noggin knocking right now, graphs and vectors, as nobody else in this town can, thanks for offering. I really don't care what anybody else or the laws of this State have to say. Nothing is going to change, and most everybody flapping their gums in here does so for monetary considerations. Not me. I'm just trying to help spread The Word. Rock on!!

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kevin fisher 3 years, 5 months ago

Okay Pilot honchos.... I've redacted that which I think you disagreed. I have to write that I am disappointed. Please apply your censorship equally (cough, cough Duster)

Once again, Lisa Watts provides us with some well-considered pearls of wisdom. Miss, if you aren't the **** I have had the displeasure to read I don't know who is.

Have you yet read the legislation pertaining to MMJ in its entirety? Do you truly believe that you and your group's direct involvement in this issue is what is missing from the equation?

You see, this is 2011. We, as a country and a community, have moved beyond Nancy Reagan and 1985. Between your rhetoric and your perm I am convinced you have not. Maybe New Castle fits you better?

So far as Mr. Rae's goes, and his position is far sadder as he controls public safety policy, he clearly neither fully understands this issue nor which drugs truly pose a threat to this town.

Firstly, the number of new card applicants has plateaued over the past several months. Right now, at a state-level, only 2.4% of the population holds a card. Whereas, around 40% of adults in Colorado report having ever used marijuana. Therefore- EXPLOSION MY HAIRY BUTT. I believe that 2.4% of this state legitimately needs MMJ. Because that number is a lot better than this.......

Secondly, this year in the U.S., more people will die from prescription drug overdoses than will perish in auto accidents. Read that again, Miss Watts and Mr. Rae. I find it striking as NO ONE in the history of mankind EVER has died from a marijuana overdose. And as I type this, there is a ballot measure to close down the MMJ guys while brand-new Walgreens (go Dr. Victory!) being built.

"Community Leaders'," your treatment of the issue is short-sighted, counter-productive and pathetic. One day I hope you will all be ashamed of how needlessly alarmist your actions and words were. I also hope that neither of you are stricken with a disease that would be helped by the use of cannabis.

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james Patterson 3 years, 5 months ago

Just an observation..... it's interesting that HIPPA regulation does not apply to MMJ. Has anyone ever been video taped and the script identified in a Walgreens (or any other drug store for that matter)? Maybe we should have "creation to sale" tracking of all narcotics, alcohol, and other things that are subject to abuse. Ms Watts, I asked this before..... is this your version of liberty, minimal government intrusion and freedom? Gotta love the Tea Baggies.....

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freerider 3 years, 5 months ago

If anybody thinks the cartels aren't bringing in billions from pot you are living in a cave and can't smell the meadow muffins

So Dustbuster which cartel do you work for ?? the same one as Lisa Watts ??

do you know what century this is ??

do you like being a cheerleader for cartels ??

God created Marijuana so I guess you are an atheist as well

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rhys jones 3 years, 5 months ago

I just thought of an old custom we should revive, so I am forming a committee to approach City Council with our proposal.

We call our group RAFTERS. Short for "Return us to tAr and FeaThERS."

We will hold our first meeting, somewhere near the sound board at Jorma tonight.

Please join us!!

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muck 3 years, 5 months ago

Ya know statements like the following are worth defending.

"I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast" - Ronald Reagan

Morons!

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bill schurman 3 years, 5 months ago

Now we know Lisa is a closet fortune teller. These new rules "... give me no comfort". Lisa, who cares. " This is a mess...I think it's a huge misrepresentation to the public that they have a grip on this, and they don't". Damn that Colorado legislature anyhow. Just a ship of fools, right Lisa?? Why not get your cohort and gather a petition to throw the rascals out ?? What world do they live in, right Lisa?? MJ will be legal in the USA Lisa & Joel... live with it. Just a matter of time. BTW: how many alcohol DUI's & DWAI's this weekend? Get a clue. You are barking up the wrong tree Lisa. Yo, Duster, have a good weekend. 124 days? Right on. You & yours lose.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 5 months ago

Just a couple of facts regarding MJ usage. More than 40% and approaching 50% of the population have reported using MJ at some point in their life. Pretty consistently about 5% report having used MJ in the past 30 days.

So there is no indication from the number of Routt County MMJ cardholders that MJ use has expanded beyond those that are medically using it or would be using it anyway. I think it is possible that some mmj patients embellished their medical condition to qualify for MMJ, just as people scam doctors to get narcotics Though, there appears to be no evidence that for MMJ that there is any significant number of people legally getting MMJ that would not be using illegal MJ.

Most important is the comparative lack of identifiable harm being done by MMJ usage. The possible consequences of a patient that abuses MMJ is not death as it is for narcotics like oxycontin. Nor does MMJ combine with other prescription drug or alcohol to have fatal side effects.

So where is this terrible harm to the community? Listening to ads that you don't like? Are those ads really that much more difficult to explain to kids than ads for Viagra, contraceptives and so on? That there are medical patients using MMJ? That there are some pot users able to get their stuff legally instead of from a drug dealer?

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Rob Douglas 3 years, 5 months ago

Appears the Feds want a confrontation. Obama's henchmen sent a new warning today. I think this is a fight worth having. This will separate those who believe Colorado can take care of its own business from those who kneel before the politburo in DC. http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_18391545

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bill schurman 3 years, 5 months ago

Rob, you and I agree for once. Ron Paul for President. Obama, I suspect is a hypocrite.

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freerider 3 years, 5 months ago

I wonder what Obama thinks about Harry J. Anslinger our original drug czar saying that smoking marijuana makes the" darkies think they are better than the white man "

I guess since he used to be a pothead it must be true

Ron Paul 2012

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lessworkmoreskiing 3 years, 5 months ago

Since I am anonymous here, I will admit that I sold pot for a long time - until dispensaries opened, when the demand for street level sellers was basically eliminated. I am happy to not be a part of that anymore, but If we close dispensaries, there will be lots of people selling it again just as it has happened for years and years.
Dispensaries or not, people will still smoke and still buy it from where they need to. Our town makes lots of money on this and the industry has created plenty of legitimate jobs. The simple solution should really be nationwide legalization, tax it like crazy and let everyone be. TONS of people smoke - more than you probably think. Opponents to MMJ act like they are selling heroin here. GET OVER IT PEOPLE, we are making this much more BS than needed

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freerider 3 years, 5 months ago

All in favor of keeping pot illegal please stand up for Fascism now !!!

Be sure to keep a rule on all us free citizens with an attitude of self righteousness, arrogance and whip and a cane keep those cartel profits soaring into record numbers leading the way today will be Lisa Watts followed by Dr. Victory and their groupie in charge

DUSTER !!

Keep on spreading the word about those evil plants that God Created and how marijuana is a one way street to seeking sexual relations with black jazz musicians

warning to all citizens !! MARIJUANA is perhaps the most dangerous drug known to man .... really really !! just ask the AMA or any cancer research group in America

You can trust your government to always tell the truth ...the ones that brought us Vietnam , Korea , WMD'S in Iraq , the wall street bailout , Two wars In Afghanistan and Iraq at the cost of 4 Trillion dollars and counting

The national debt just went up $ 80 million $ in the time it took me to write this

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muck 3 years, 5 months ago

Lesswork- Bro you got some cajones writing that info. But you are correct! Medical Marijuana, pot, weed, smoke, blunt, stash, swag and NUG, has lost 30-50% of its value BECAUSE the BLACK MARKET has been destroyed in this area. WHY you ask? Regulation and Control! KILL THE BLACK MARKET!! VOTE TO KEEP THE DISPENSERIES!! VOTE TO END THE MADNESS!! KEEP GROWERS OUT OF YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD! YOUR STREETS! IT WILL BE CLOSER TO YOUR KIDS IF YOU VOTE TO END MMJ DESPENSARIES! DON'T END CONTROL! GAIN CONTROL!!!

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mmjPatient22 3 years, 5 months ago

lesswork-

I have to agree with muck here and I've got to commend your bravery, anonymous or not. To boot, I have to agree with you about the state of the black market since Amendment 20 really hit its stride a couple years back. It's nice to read another level-headed, logic/reason based opinion on the matter.

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Phoebe Hackman 3 years, 5 months ago

Somebody please bring me up to speed. I was under the impression that Lisa Watts and Kelly Victory were on the same page. I found a post from Kelly Victory, wherein she states, "I am a PROPONENT of medical marijuana, when prescribed responsibly and when regulated. I am not a proponent of using a "medical loophole" to allow thousands of people to obtain the substance via a "sham". I have already stated my personal bias that marijuana should be legalized for recreational use and then regluated (sic) and tightly controlled like alcohol and tobacco." This is a pretty clear and understandable position. (I could not find any statement of Lisa Watts' explaining her position as concisely.) So now more regulation and control is being applied to the MMJ industry than any other industry in town, and, yet, Lisa Watts says, “For me, this kind of thing gives me no comfort. It’s a band-aid type effort,” ... “This is a mess. … I just think it’s a huge misrepresentation to the public that they have a grip on this, and they don’t.” Lisa, why, exactly, do you feel this way? Specifically. What more regulation would you like to see? Specifically. I get that one of your fears is the "loopholes", but if the MMJ dispensaries can be made to work the way they're supposed to through the ever-evolving regulations and controls, then what, exactly, is your objection? Specifically.

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lessworkmoreskiing 3 years, 5 months ago

I was ok mentioning I used to sell it because it has been a very long time since I had anything to do with this stuff. I no longer have any kind of connection to the business aspect of the topic being discussed, my hands are comfortably wiped clean.
You are correct Muck, herb has lost its value, but that is simple economics of too much supply compared to the demand.
My point here is that lots and lots of people were selling it before dispensaries, now there is almost no need for street level dealers. If your concern is your kids and "non card holders" getting ahold of it, I would suggest letting dispensaries continue because it would actually be in your favor of controlling those things. Dispensaries at least offer some level of regulation AND our government is making tons of tax money on something the citizens of our city and nation do EVERYDAY, ANYWAY! I think if everyone was honest, the number of smokers in our town and nation would be staggering. And it could really help a lot of people's lives out that do really need it for medical purposes. Too bad our country views it how they do and make people feel like drug users on the level of crack junkies comparatively.
Its funny that in a time of governmental financial crisis we are turning away something that could literally save our asses.
Bottom line is that dispensaries are actually a step in the right direction for regulation on the entire industry, and most likely making it harder for your kids to get it. LEGALIZE IT - IT JUST MAKES SENSE.

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mmjPatient22 3 years, 5 months ago

6 Days? It's been 6 days and there hasn't been a peep from the other side of the fence.

Is everyone okay? .

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rhys jones 3 years, 5 months ago

NOT speaking from the cover of anonymity, I too will here confess that I might have sold a bag or two along the way -- big bags. Even got properly busted, '98 or so, severely curtailing subsequent activities. Statutes of limitations have long since run on anything the state can prove, even given this. But back then, I was a mule. I hooked up my friends with mi amigos.

My many trips funded, along with many part-time jobs, my software development. Nobody else saw fit; I was a lunatic, what with this new-fangled Linux. I saw myself as the new Maverick, riding the West, no net to protect me, in pursuit of my dreams. I've seen more of the Old West than Old Bill and Wyatt combined. I'll bet neither one saw Lizard Head Pass in a midnight blizzard.

Once, when lamenting to my main sponsor about all the cops I just dodged, especially in Utah, he said What!! You're a hero!! Think of all the DUI's you prevented, the domestic disputes, the bar fights. And I found it hard to disagree, hero that I inherently am.

It was more than coincidental that the results of my risks and labors also provided sufficient cerebral enhancement to fully complete the introductory version of my software (a few generations ago, granted). Pot got me started, when the doubters failed me.

Good thing the software is catching, because that other business looks dead.

The town can get their share, or not. Same stuff'll happen. Girls? Your turn.

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rhys jones 3 years, 5 months ago

Obviously my business doesn't have a prospective customer in this town, or I wouldn't spew this line!!

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rhys jones 3 years, 5 months ago

And not to take anything away from Old Bill or Wyatt -- bet they spent a cold night or two.

Hope the reef was right.

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mmjPatient22 3 years, 5 months ago

Maybe all of the prohibitionists are too glued to their Fox News to break away for a retort or response to any of our comments.... Or maybe they're just terrified of us....

.

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