The National Pain Report published an article on the concerns raised because of new medical marijuana regulations in Colorado.
Colorado patients formed an alliance to stand together, and be heard by medical cannabis regulators.
Concerns about the status quo on medical marijuana in Colorado led to patient advocacy groups joining forces with healthcare professionals and researchers. Together, they aim to defend access to medical marijuana.
Stacey Linn, founder member of IMPACT, and executive of CannAbility, is known for her involvement in getting Jack’s Law passed. This law gives special needs children access to medical marijuana at school. Ms. Linn says most patients only turn to medical marijuana after all available traditional medication has failed to bring them relief.
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Regulations are not openly discussed
The Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) is in the process of bringing in new regulations on medical marijuana. The IMPACT Alliance group believes these regulations could limit research, and the development of cannabis medicines. Furthermore it could also impede outreach, and education programs to patients.
The MED met with government regulators and other stakeholders to decide the fate of medical marijuana patients without involving any patient groups in the discussions. There was no input from patients to evaluate how these rules would impact on their lives.
Bridget Seritt of Cannabis Patient Rights Coalition, said they asked the MED to refrain from a final rulings until such time as the patients form part of the discussions.
The concern of the alliance is the Department of Public Health’s Board of Medical Examiners (BME) pulling physicians’ licenses. These physicians were accused of recommending a too high plant count to medical marijuana patients with severe medical conditions.
The four doctors who were suspended are in the process of suing the Medical Board on the grounds that they were not given a chance to respond before they were suspended.
Cannabinoid medicine expert, Michele Ross, Ph.D., says there were no scientific evidence or research to substantiate the decision to pull these physician’s licenses. Neither has there been any guidance on plant counts, or what is believed to be appropriate for specific conditions, so that physicians can make informed decisions, and move forward.
Only 30% of patients deserve treatment
The alliance also commented on the statement by the Department of Health last year limiting physicians to recommend cannabis to no more than 30% of their patients in order to avoid potential action taken against their licenses.
Dr. Ross asked how a doctor was supposed to choose which 3 out of every 10 patients deserved access to medical cannabis, and on which criteria such a decision should be based.
The IMPACT Alliance believes elected officials should not interfere with the relationship between chronically ill patients and doctors prescribing medical cannabis. The comment was also made that many chronically ill patients can’t afford dispensary prices, and therefore need to grow their own plants to provide them with the medicine.
The Alliance said they are a resource to policy makers, and that they want to work together to protect communities and patients. Ms. Linn said that they asked to be included, and for reason and compassion to prevail in these discussions.