A medical cannabis patient is suing Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) over the medical cannabis reform package signed by the governor last month, Westword reports. The lawsuit, filed by attorney Alex Buscher on behalf of Benjamin Wann, contends the new law is unconstitutional and forces physicians to prescribe medical cannabis—instead of recommending—which runs afoul of federal rules.
The new rules for patients under 21 require a diagnosis of a “debilitating or disabling medical condition” by two physicians from different medical practices, and in-person follow-up appointments every six months unless the patient is homebound. Patients under 21 are restricted to purchasing 2 grams of cannabis concentrates per day under the new law. Proponents of the legislation argue it is necessary to avoid the diversion of medical cannabis products to youth.
“If doctors decide to stop recommending medical marijuana because they’re scared of losing their [Drug Enforcement Administration] licenses, then that’s the end of the medical program. Amendment 20 is clear: Doctors don’t have to say a patient is going to benefit from marijuana. They just have to certify the conclusion that a patient might benefit from marijuana.”—Buscher via Westword
Buscher also argues that the METRC-operated data-collection system implemented by the new law to ensure patients under 21 aren’t obtaining more than their daily limits violates patient privacy rights and could lead to federal prosecution.
Additionally, the attorney says an amendment in the law wasn’t included in the bill’s final text sent to the governor which violates state law and is, therefore, grounds to “invalidate the entire bill because it didn’t go through the entire procedure.”
“I believe it was an error due to the speed this was pushed through with and the amount of changes going in, but that amendment’s not in there,” Buscher told Westword.
Buscher said he would likely include other state agencies, including the Marijuana Enforcement Division and Department of Public Health and Environment in the coming weeks, along with other plaintiffs.
The governor’s office has not commented on the lawsuit but Buscher said he feels the case is “very solid” because of the provisions of the medical cannabis constitutional amendment; however, he acknowledges “very few cases are ever won challenging unconstitutionality in state and local laws.”
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