Kevin Fisher: Get facts on medical marijuana


Hyperbole and conjecture, these are the tools of the trade for those who oppose the medical marijuana center model in Colorado. Facts and stats, luckily, are what we, the supporters of medicinal cannabis, have on our side.

I can go on for pages or hours discussing medical marijuana, and I encourage those with an interest to contact me at any time. However, I’d like to take this opportunity to address some of the points brought up by the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s editorial published Wednesday.

The notion that Amendment 20 was drafted without a retail model in mind is patently absurd. Martin Chilcutt, the author of the amendment, as reported in this very publication, has said that a corner drugstore type of distribution model was part of the evolution he envisioned for Amendment 20. In fact, quoted in response to the development of the dispensary model, he says: “Great. It’s working. Dispensaries are opening, and there’s a delivery system in process. I thought, ‘This is great. It’s wonderful.’”

I think that clarifies his intent for the amendment.

As to the opinion that somehow our industry is underregulated, I reply: hogwash. Amendment 20, HB 10-1284, HB 11-1043, SB 10-109, HB 10-1250, the associated rulemaking guidelines and our local Steamboat Springs city ordinance account for nearly 200 pages of regulations. All cannabis from seed to sale is tracked to the gram. All operations are captured on video and stored for 40 days. None of the legislation in the 15 other states that have enacted medical marijuana laws even comes close to the level of accountability Colorado’s laws provide. And make no mistake, strict civil and criminal penalties apply for those who do not comply.

Let us now address the “rampant abuse” of the medical marijuana system. Is there abuse? Absolutely — just as there is abuse of the prescription drug system. The defining characteristic of prescription drug abuse, however, will be the deaths of more than 21,000 people this year. That number is greater than that attributable to traffic accidents in 17 states and across all 50 states in the 31- to 54-year-old demographic. Total deaths in mankind’s history attributable to acute THC toxicity (too much pot): zero.

The Pilot & Today’s editorial board asserts the fact that 6.2 percent of our county’s population holds an medical marijuana card “defies credibility.” Often cited in this vein is the rate at which medical marijuana recommendations are made for “severe pain,” one of the eight qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in Colorado. However, anyone taking this position must be without the knowledge that the American Chronic Pain Association shows that nearly 25 percent of our population suffers from the disease. Add to this the rates of cancer, severe nausea, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, HIV, epilepsy, glaucoma and cachexia, and the thoughtful citizen may conclude that more, not fewer, adults should be seeking therapies offered by cannabis.

The frank bottom line is this: The only people who will be negatively affected by a ban of medical marijuana centers in our community will be those who truly need the medicine. Those who use marijuana recreationally have and always will find a way to procure their wares. How can we as an educated, compassionate community punish those in need for the actions of the minority abusers? If to ban medical marijuana centers is an acceptable course of action, than I say we halt construction of the new Walgreens monstrosity with due haste, as well.

Lastly, the Pilot’s editorial acknowledges that “pot is here with or without marijuana centers.” If this is the case, then why empower the criminals in the black market? Why drive cultivation into our neighborhoods? Why remove the nearly $200,000 direct monthly contribution our industry provides for our community in these tough economic times? Why take this therapy out of the hands of those who truly need it while those with nefarious intent remain unaffected?

The emergence of the medicinal cannabis industry is an opportunity for us all to address the substance abuse issues in our community. Let us move forward together in a constructive, logical way to help those making the poor decisions get back on track. Let us not allow opinion and emotion to hamstring these efforts.

Kevin Fisher is the co-owner of Rocky Mountain Remedies in Steamboat Springs.


Lisa Watts 5 years, 7 months ago

If the Amendment had a retail model "in mind" it would have stated so. NO WHERE does it condone or authorize retail pot shops. Caregiver model only, not a grocery store who sells to masses. What Chilcutt "envisioned" and his personal intent isn't what it is or what the voters passed.

Regulated? The State FREELY admits they are 24 full months behind on licensing. Call them. Obviously, if they are that far behind on licensing....prove to me someone from the state has knocked on your door to check anything, I want to talk to them. Where are your inspections to prove that? For that matter, I'd like to see any anything from any governing body that has inspected your compliance. Regulation on paper doesn't mean there is anyone at all regulating anything. The State is underfunded, understaffed and not in control. Further, I've sat at our esteemed City Council and listened as the Council asked pot shop owners in the audience who have operated in our community for months upon months when they "thought" their license would come through. I poked 3 pages worth of holes into the Ordinance 2296 that would supposedly "regulate" this industry locally with not one single answer to my challenges. Show me regulation, don't waive paper around like it happens.

Statewide DUID cases to date in Colorado have eclipsed all of 2009 & 2010 combined.

Go ahead; argue the abuse angle. Undercover just caught a traveling nurse practitioner, (illegal even according to lax Colorado law), driving through town and issuing a card for a stubbed toe for a cool $100 cash. Drive up to Steamboat for a weekend and fund a Hawaiin vacation. An increase from 12 card holders in 2009 to 1200 to date isn't abuse? You've heard Grand Futures; it is on the rise in our youth locally. Recent, 2010, National Survey On Drug Use & Health and Monitoring the Future report indicates abuse is on a steady increase since 2008.

Your appeal for those who truly need it is heart wrenching. I will stay up at night worried about those 1238 "in need"; (those in need for 9 whole years averaged 12. now it is 1250). The well meaning people of Colorado passed a caregiver model in 2000 that sufficiently served those 12 folks for 9 years. Now, we've got rampant stubbed toes and severe pain that accounts for 96% of registered users.

Finally, just because you've found the goose that laid a golden cash cow, hiding behind the sham of medical mockery, you've elevated your good intentions above the black market? Ask local law enforcement; "patients" buy it and mark it up 200% to our kids. Aloha's Chris Ward told WSJ that in less than 2 years he wasn't worried, he had more than made his money back. You've said yourself at Council that your dispensary alone has over 1500 "patients". This isn't a market?


Lisa Watts 5 years, 7 months ago

Those that "procure their wares" illegally upon the vote and ban should have the accountability and pay the price just like anyone else who chooses to indulge recreational abuse of anything...alcohol, pharmaceuticals, etc. This industry and those that make gargantuan profits from it should not get a "get out of jail free card" any more than Dr. Victory has said a million times she would if she rented a room at the library and sold prescriptions to oxycontin for $100.

How galant that this industry wishes to address the very substance abuse issues in our community that it contributes to. Now that's moral standard that we don't need any more are willing to pay kind of a commission back to the coffers in order to make your money? So you are asking this community to virtually offer up its youth for a percentage of your profit? I am sure that is great comfort to the families watching their teenagers gripped in the addiction of illegal drugs. Marijuana is the source of 61.8% of all initial first time drug use.

The good people of Colorado provided for those in need Mr. Fisher, your industry and business has cashed in on the abuse.


Scott Wedel 5 years, 7 months ago

So any of the sins attributed to any of the local dispensaries? By her logic, because I once had a construction guy rip me off so then we should ban general contractors. What does one person ripping people off with false MMJ recommendations (that would be rejected by the state) have to do with local dispensaries?

And does anyone think that local marijuana users are going to stop because the dispensaries are banned? Will it really be better to ban a regulated local industry and convert a $200,000K a month local business paying local employees back to the illegal drug trade?

Lastly, I am very happy if the dispensaries make money because then they have success businesses which are worth protecting by following the rules. It is far more likely that a struggling business will first do what they need to do to stay open and then worry about the rules.


honestabe 5 years, 7 months ago

has the false nurse been arrested and prosecuted? If not, WHY? or is this just a rumor started by the police. Or just incomplete police work...


CHAUNCEY COOKE 5 years, 7 months ago

Persons that have a true need will not be effected if the centers close. Medical marijuana is availble to anyone ( such as my step father with cancer in N.C. )if the centers close. Why keep the centers open ?


muck 5 years, 7 months ago

Ban the 5 Despensaries and you will create 1700 people selling MMJ in the shadows in Routt County to EVERYONE!


rhys jones 5 years, 7 months ago

Remember, Stoners, the polls close at 7, just like RMR. Plan accordingly. And if you oversleep and miss both, don't worry, our suppliers in the trailer park will be back in business, well past 7, no cameras rolling, no license necessary. Just like the good ol' days. Panama Red is coming back to town!! He keeps well-hidden, underground.


kevin fisher 5 years, 7 months ago

Once again emotion and lies. Firstly, RMR's premises, in toto, were inspected just this week, Ms. Watts. We'll publish the report a.s.a.p. What's next on your innuendo hit sheet?

For our law enforcement community: One, we have spoken with the nurse practitioner whom you mention and she is unaware of any criminal proceedings. As such, that leads me to point two, which can be summed up with an excerpt from amendment 20:

(a) Fraudulent representation of a medical condition by a patient to a physician, state health agency, or state or local law enforcement official for the purpose of falsely obtaining a registry identification card or avoiding arrest and prosecution;

Hmmm...will local p.d. care to investigate one of their own? Probably not.


heboprotagonist 5 years, 7 months ago

The good doctor says "I poked 3 pages worth of holes into the Ordinance 2296 that would supposedly "regulate" this industry locally with not one single answer to my challenges. Show me regulation, don't waive paper around like it happens."

To that I reply: Neither the initials behind your name, nor the degree on your wall make you a doctor. Don't waive that piece of paper around like it makes it so.

Where are your patients? Have you ever practiced actual medicine? When? Besides residency?

What you don't like about MMJ is only your opinion. No facts, no logic, just a corporate funded smear campaign.

Doctors who don't practice medicine and see patients regularly are simply consultants and golfers. I wouldn't take medical or parenting advice from either.


rhys jones 5 years, 7 months ago

Maybe the ladies will disappear as fast as they showed up when their mission fails.


jimmmmmm 5 years, 7 months ago

So Lisa,

All this over your confusion of Amendment 20? So you voted "for" MMJ? And now you don't like your vote?

Something tells me you, and people who are with you, didn't vote "for" MMJ anyway, so what's the fuss?


steamboatsconscience 5 years, 7 months ago

Hebo Watts is not a a doctor, just an agitator. . Coleen Victory is the doctor without patients....


BeCoolHoneyBunny 5 years, 7 months ago

DUID arrests and cases are NOT convictions. In America you are innocent until proven guilty.

Posting a NATIONAL report does not prove that use is also equally up LOCALY.

Plus she totally misrepresents the data in the report. (The rate of current marijuana use among youths aged 12 to 17 decreased from 8.2 percent in 2002 to 6.7 percent in 2006, remained unchanged at 6.7 percent in 2007 and 2008, then increased to 7.3 percent in 2009 and 7.4 percent in 2010.) So the rate of use is actually lower then just 8 years ago and has only increase 0.6 percent since 2006. Lisa Watts says that abuse is on a STEADY increase since 2008. It has basically remained the same since the dispensaries have opened. The study looks at use, not abuse, two different things.

If this was high school debate, you wouldn't even stand a chance. Sad.


BeCoolHoneyBunny 5 years, 7 months ago

Facts from the 2010 National Survey On Drug Use & Health and Monitoring the Future report that Lisa Watts uses as a source.

Of Total American population 12 and older Illicit drug users = 8.9% Marijuana users = 6.9% Alcohol users = 51.8% Tobacco users = 27.4%

Numbers don't lie, can you see where the real problems lie?


BeCoolHoneyBunny 5 years, 7 months ago

I would be more interested to see the numbers on drug use if it was for Colorado only. National averages don't reflect having MMJ dispensaries. While I'm sure the numbers are always up on people wearing MOOTS spandex locally, I'm positive it's not Nationally.


Scott Wedel 5 years, 7 months ago

BeCoolHoneyBunny Numbers don't lie, can you see where the real problems lie? Marijuana users = 6.9%

And if local MMJ businesses are banned then it will go to zero and the real problem will have been solved.

Thank you for making it so clear.


JJ Southard 5 years, 7 months ago

Thank you, Kevin, for eloquently outlining the truth here....Thank you very much.


mmjPatient22 5 years, 7 months ago

First of all, Kevin, sir, I would like to commend you for another well-spoken, well thought-out, precisely worded, meaningful contribution to the current cannabis conundrum. It's inspiring to sit back and compare the differences between points made by people on our side of the debate and the same-old-same-old from the people that are in an uproar over our little friend, the cannabis plant. On that note, I got a good chuckle out of hearing someone(and damn me for not having the mental where-with-all to recall exactly who;) say that it was going to start being referenced as "homeopathic cannabis" rather than the ol' "medical marijuana" thing that we've all come to know it as. I'm all for it.

Secondly, I think I might have conceived my next tattoo idea and I wanted to share it with you all(or "y'all," where I'm from). All it's going to say is "LEGALIZE IT !!!" And if the spacing came through correctly from my keyboard to the finished product of this comment, you'll notice an abnormally large space after the word "LEGALIZE," and I'll tell you why. The only purpose served by that particular hole is to, one glorious day, be filled with an incongruously large "D." For a while now, I've been trying to imagine a fitting representation of my thoughts on the fight that cannabis users have endured, and continue to endure, and what it would mean to me, personally, when it was all over. The day that I can finally outfit that tattoo with that copious dark green letter "D" to complete the word "LEGALIZED" is going to be one of the proudest, happiest days I've ever lived. And just for good measure, I'll have 'em add a tombstone to mark the death of the "marijuana prohibition" with the appropriate dates.


bandmama 5 years, 7 months ago

Kevin, while I did post I am NOT customer, and I cant say that I support you $ wise. I am so grateful for your MANY posts and MANY OPEN inspections and SHT you go to for people in my position. You not only support our need of treatment, you have one handedly supported the simple need of treatment that so many need in ANY one small spot, one small community have. I am more than willing to "repent" my so called misdeeds in jail in hopes that others have the CHOICE for the treatment that works for them. Thank you So very freaking-ly much for having the balls for speaking up and keeping it on the UP and UP. And doing everything you can do to keep it so! As a citizen, I am not a freaking low life criminal. I am NOT that. And seeing your FACT based FACTS in print, gives some of us a much MUCH more positive glance at the future. Lets just go with this, let's CLOG the justice system even more. Lets... just let rapists, and child molestors off on probation. I will be ashamed...not that I found a source of relief, but that a REAL Jack, who committed a real crime is let go.... to walk the streets, and do much worse than I can EVER do... for lighting up....that JACK will prey on the kids, and any female. But folks like Dr Lisa will feel good at night knowing she put some mother, father, respectible person behind bars while asshles roam the streets. GOOD FOR YOU..." DR.'s"... i hope you sleep at night better than I do WITH pain, knowing you spent your time on buttheads like me, instead of the people who REALLY should get/ need to be locked up.


canyonwind 5 years, 6 months ago

The Obama regiem put all gun shop on notice not to sell guns to ANYONE that is a Medical Marijuana cardholder. Clinton and Bush never went this far over MMJ, they may not have liked MMJ but they NEVER took away anyones rights over this issue. After we vote to keep MMJ stores in all of Routt county, we need to get this Obama thug out of office and put Dr Ron Paul in the White House



rhys jones 5 years, 6 months ago

My private gunsmith puts a 2-lb pull on the trigger, for added accuracy over great distances. As with mmj, we don't need their stores.


steamboatsconscience 5 years, 6 months ago

OK now the powers that be are not allowing comments on today's (10/24) article "Dispensary owners help boost number of county’s registered voters" I saw no offensive postings other than potential libelous comments by Watts which are still able to be viewed. explain please Pilot.


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