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Becoming a Medical Marijuana Patient in Colorado

David Bowman

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Any patient with a valid registry card may legally use marijuana for medicinal purposes and their caregiver may assist them in doing so. A patient who is charged with a crime for having more medicine than the law allows may argue in court that possessing this extra medicine was medically necessary.

Police are instructed not to harm or neglect any property related to medical marijuana (including plants). Any property seized must be returned as soon as the DA determines possession was for medical use.

What's Allowed
Between you and your caregiver, you can legally possess six marijuana plants, only three of which may be mature enough to bear usable marijuana, plus two ounces of marijuana in usable form. If you violate these limits, they can keep you off the registry for one year.

Don't be dangerous (i.e., don't drive under the influence), and don't be obvious (i.e., don't smoke in public or flash your stash). That is still illegal.

If you violate their rules, they'll revoke your card for a year.

Eligible conditions include: AIDS, HIV, cancer, glaucoma, Plus any of the following symptoms that are caused by a chronic or debilitating disease, or the treatment of such disease: cachexia (severe weightloss caused my a medical condition or its treatment), severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, or persistent muscle spasms. Your doctor must believe marijuana will relieve these symptoms. Colorado may add other conditions to this list.

You can grow medical marijuana or have your caregiver grow it. There are dispensaries in Colorado, but the state medical marijuana laws do not regulate them. Local ordinances may affect how and whether dispensaries can operate in your community. Colorado Medical Marijuana.net maintains a list of dispensaries.

A "Primary caregiver" must be at least eighteen years old and have significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a patient. The caregiver may legally grow, possess, and distribute marijuana for the patient. There is no restriction to the number of patients which one primary caregiver may serve.

The caregiver's name and address will appear on the patient's registry ID.

Age Limits
Minors may be legal medical marijuana patients as long as they have parental consent.

Application Process
To apply you must fill out this application form provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and have it notarized. Your doctor must fill out and sign their portion of the form. Include a copy of your state-issued photo ID and a checkor money order for $90.

Minors should use this form and additionally include the parental consent form and asecond doctor's form.

You need to update your registration and pay another $90 every year, with all documentation, even if it hasn't changed, including a new signed physicians statement. This should be in 30 days beforeyour card expires.

If there has been a change in your address, or caregiver, you must notify the department of the change within 10 days with this change of address/caregiver form.

Keep copies of all of your paperwork.

Colorado won't help you find a doctor. Doctors cannot be punished for discussing or recommending medical marijuana to their patients.The doctor who writes your recommendation must be licensed in Colorado.

The ID card will show your name, address, date of birth, social security number, and the Name and address of your caregiver. It should not list your medical condition. The registry is confidential. Police or government officials can only access the registry to check if you are a lawful patient. The Dept. will release your file to you with your written consent.

The law does not specifically address whether or not you can be evicted due to your status as a medical marijuana patient, even if you have only the amount of medical marijuana allowed by law. Also, it doesn't address whether you can live in subsidized housing, or whether you can grow, possess, and use marijuana in your house if it's within 1000 feet of a school.

The Colorado medical marijuana laws do not require an employer to accommodate medical use of marijuana in the workplace. It is not specified whether or not this regulation concerning accommodation pertains only to on-the-job medical marijuana use, or more generally,to the employment of medical marijuana patients. The law does not discuss the issue of employment-related drug testing.

Your insurance will not cover medical marijuana expenses.

Colorado only recognizes it's own state-issued medical marijuana ID cards. However, Montana, Rhode Island, and Michigan should recognize your Colorado card. If you do not have a Colorado medical marijuana ID, then you are not protected in Colorado.

Source: ASA: Becoming a Patient in Colorado
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