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Medical Marijuana Providers Need to Know Patients, Colorado Court Rules

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A Colorado court has let stand the drug conviction of a woman who supplied marijuana to medical-marijuana dispensaries, saying the she did not qualify as a “caregiver” under state law because she did not have direct contact with patients, the Denver Post reported Oct. 30.

Robert Corry, the attorney for Stacy Clendenin, who was convicted on felony drug charges for growing marijuana in her home, said he would appeal the decision, adding, “The ruling only applies to those who went to trial before July when the state medical board agreed that caregivers could simply provide marijuana. This ruling does not affect people that are in business right now. That being said, I represent a number of clients, and I will be advising people to meet their patients in person, in the abundance of caution.”

A spokesperson for the Colorado Attorney General's office disputed Corry's interpretation, saying the Colorado Court of Appeals decision overrode the state medical board's action. A judge involved in the decision and advocates on both sides of the medical-marijuana issue called on lawmakers to clarify the role of caregivers under the Amendment 20 law.

“I am pleased to see the Court of Appeals has provided legal support for our case that a caregiver, under Amendment 20, must do more than simply provide marijuana to a patient,” said Attorney General John Suthers. “I also was pleased to see the assertion … that Amendment 20 'cries out for legislative action.' I could not agree more. I hope the legislature will act and create a regulatory framework that gives substance to the Court of Appeals' findings.”

State Sen. Chris Romer said the state “needs to issue clear, bright lines and needs to define medical marijuana with a meaningful-caregiver relationship.”

“If you are a dispensary simply selling marijuana and acting like a 7-Eleven, you will now be prosecuted based on this decision,” Romer said. “My hope is that this will slow or stop the gold rush of dispensaries that are growing like weeds, no pun intended.”

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