Steamboat forum emblematic of growing marijuana industry
1st public pot talk draws about 2 dozen
November 28, 2010
Steamboat Springs — About two dozen Routt County residents gathered Monday night in the Steamboat Springs Community Center in a scene that is becoming commonplace across the state: Public forums hosted by medical marijuana supporters that focus on education, advocacy and networking.
Last week's meeting, organized by the owners of Rocky Mountain Remedies medical marijuana center and their attorney Adam Mayo, was the first of its kind in Steamboat.
The 90-minute gathering focused primarily on new medical marijuana legislation and legal issues for card-carrying patients.
Mayo, who has participated in similar meetings on the Front Range, said they're an indication of the growing acceptance of medical marijuana.
"If we had done this lecture a few years ago, I don't think anybody would have shown up," he said. "A few years ago, not as many people were willing to sign up for medical marijuana cards for whatever reason. Now, it seems, the stigma has worn off, and it is becoming more accepted."
Mayo appears to be seeking to carve out a niche in the medical marijuana industry. The Cannabis Therapy Institute, a medical marijuana education and advocacy group, invited him to speak last month in Boulder about his patient collect model. The model would allow patients to grow medical marijuana together in spaces that would function similar to a community garden. He has another presentation scheduled for Wednesday in Denver.
On Monday, however, much of the focus was on existing laws and misinformation, said Kevin Fisher, co-owner of Steamboat's Rocky Mountain Remedies.
"It's what we've always tried to do at RMR — educate and help out the community," he said.
Mayo used the forum to discuss medical marijuana patient rights. He advised attendees to not allow law enforcement officers to enter their homes unless they have warrants, and to not reveal during traffic stops that they are a medical marijuana cardholder unless pot is found.
He also discussed provisions of the state's new medical marijuana legislation, such as caregivers not being able to grow in a shared space, and caregivers being restricted to serving five patients.
Several of the people who attended Monday's meeting were pleased that it was held in Steamboat.
"I wanted to get informational resources to see if anything else was going on, to see if anything else has changed," said Hayden resident Charish Adams, a medical marijuana cardholder. "I think (the meeting) is great. I think they should do it more."
Steamboat resident Ray Thomas, a medical marijuana caregiver, said he, too, had legal questions.
"Basically, I wanted to see where we stood with the new laws for caregivers," he said. "It was very informative. (Mayo) was very upfront with everything. And I was satisfied with what he had to say."
Mayo said he wished more people would have attended the meeting, but he considered it a success nonetheless. He thinks that as more people want to learn about Colorado's medical marijuana industry, similar meetings could become more common in Steamboat.
Kevin Fisher and Ryan Fisher, the Rocky Mountain Remedies co-owners, said they are considering a private festival-type gathering for medical marijuana cardholders in which all proceeds would be donated to a local charity.
Ryan Fisher said they want to get more involved in the community.
"Especially because of what business we're in, to get it out there that we're normal community members," he said.
According to the most recent estimate by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, there are 108,000 registered medical marijuana patients across the state. There also are 809 marijuana dispensaries, with Rocky Mountain Remedies being among the largest 5 percent based on number of patients served.