SOUTHERN COLORADO (AP) — A bill filed in Colorado’s state legislature could result in new THC concentrate laws for medical and recreational users.
After passing overwhelmingly out of the Public and Behavioral Health and Human Services Committee this week, HB21-1317 will proceed to the Committee on Finance on Thursday.
A 15 percent potency cap on THC products was proposed in a draft of the law circulated earlier this year. The law has undergone significant changes since then. There is no longer a potency cap included.
Representative Yadira Caraveo, one of the bill’s main sponsors, explained the legislation’s many purposes. She described it as an acceptable bill that allows the state to focus on high-potency THC research. Representative Caraveo stated, “We’re really trying to limit how much is out there generally because it’s getting into the wrong hands.”
The bill proposes to establish a program at the Colorado School of Public Health to perform a meta-analysis of existing global studies on concentrates. Rep. Caraveo stated that the researchers will discover any information gaps and report them to a committee. The findings would then be given to legislators in June 2022, who would decide if more research is needed or if conclusions can be taken from the current data.
Leaders in the cannabis sector, according to Representative Caraveo, claim that there isn’t enough evidence to support a THC potency cap. Representative Caraveo said she wants the Colorado School of Public Health to look at limiting the quantity of THC in products if the bill passes.
Legislators propose to establish a Scientific Examine Council, which would oversee a public awareness campaign about the dangers of excessive use, prohibit youth-targeted advertising, and review studies in order to offer suggestions on future restrictions.
The bill also aims to improve interactions between patients and doctors, particularly among those aged 18 to 20. Two different doctors would have to approve medical marijuana to people in that age range, and the doctor would have to expound on the conditions underlying the product’s use. It would be necessary to schedule a follow-up appointment on a regular basis. “We’re trying to focus a lot of the bill’s tenets on individuals who are the most vulnerable. As a result, youngsters and individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 with still developing brains are at risk “Representative Caraveo, who is also a pediatrician, explained his position.
Representative Caraveo stated that the bill would have no effect on mail order marijuana for minors under the age of 17, particularly those who have already received their medical cards. She said the bill was revised on Tuesday to ensure that patients do not have to go through the entire process again when they turn 18, and that they do not lose access to their prescription. Before acquiring their medical card, patients under the age of 17 require two distinct doctor’s recommendations.
Both medicinal patients and recreational consumers aged 21 and above would be subject to an eight-gram daily limit under the proposed legislation. The daily limit for people between the ages of 18 and 20 would be two grams.
A new tracking system would be used to keep track of cannabis transactions across the state. The idea is to prevent people from going from dispensary to dispensary in order to buy more than their daily allotment.
A doctor can recommend more than the two or eight gram limit for a patient, according to Representative Caraveo. If a patient is unable to visit a dispensary frequently enough, the doctor may write into the recommendation that the patient be allowed to pick up more than the prescribed amount at one time.
The law would change the way dispensaries sell concentrates. A single gram of THC concentrate, often known as dabs, would be divided into ten dosages. Representative Caraveo explained that this aspect of the bill is intended to help people avoid naivete.
Coroners across the state would be required to undertake toxicology reports on every suicide or non-natural death of people under the age of 25 if the bill passes. When it comes to suicides, Representative Caraveo says marijuana is the most common substance discovered in toxicology testing.
Every case that comes through the El Paso County Coroner’s Office undergoes a toxicological examination. Dr. Leon Kelly, the Chief Medical Examiner and Coroner, claimed the tests were costly. According to Dr. Kelly, the budgetary component of toxicology screenings will be a challenge for many coroners.
There is still time to change the bill. On June 12, the Colorado State Legislature will adjourn.
Laura Stack was born and raised in Colorado Springs, but now calls Highlands Ranch home. Johnny, her 19-year-old son, committed suicide on November 20, 2019. She characterized her kid as a wonderful young man with a promising future.
Stack claimed she didn’t find out about her son’s medical marijuana card until after he passed away. Her son’s mental health deteriorated while he was consuming THC concentrates, she claimed. “He texted me and said, “I’ve been dabbing nonstop for two weeks and I’m ready to die… I believe he would still be here with us if he hadn’t been in Colorado at 14 years old when these concentrates first came out in 2014, 2015, when he was starting high school “Stack stated.
Stack founded Johnny’s Ambassadors, a non-profit aimed at informing teenagers and parents about the dangers of high-potency THC products. She is in favor of the bill and hopes that it will become law.
Lauren Schoepp and her son, Cael, are on the other side of the bill. Cael started smoking cannabis three years ago, when he was receiving palliative care and losing lung function. He suffers from epilepsy and autism. Lauren said the cannabis was initially used for pain relief, but it quickly enhanced her son’s quality of life. “This legislation reform is going to take away my son’s legal right and legal access to his medication,” Schoepp added.
According to Schoepp, getting a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana can be challenging. “Of the eleven specialists my son has, just two will even talk to us about it,” Schoepp added.
Vibrant Health Facility is a Colorado Springs-based medicinal cannabis specialty clinic. They conduct doctor’s assessments for the product and are concerned about the bill’s impact on their cancer, epilepsy, and pain patients who use concentrates. The obligation to divide a gram of dabs into ten dosages, according to clinic officials, might boost the expense. “In some ways, I’m concerned that this would eventually demolish the medical program… The state appears to want adult patients to return to recreational sales “Vibrant Health Clinic’s Jessica Hogan stated.
Hogan opposes the plan as written because she believes it has too many unforeseen implications. She wants more clarity on the section requiring mental health documents in order to obtain a doctor’s approval for medical marijuana, for example. Hogan inquired if this is referring to current mental health data or if each patient will need to be examined individually.
For anyone under the age of 30, as well as anyone with PTSD, regardless of age, Vibrant Health Clinic already demands previous medical records. Some parts of the law, according to Hogan, she likes, such as the fact that it shines a light on clinics that don’t go to such lengths. “I believe we can strike a balance here so that we don’t jeopardize what is treating the patients who are at fault,” Hogan said.
Even while Hogan claims that certain clinics make it too simple to get a medical card, she also claims that many doctors are powerless when it comes to cannabis. That’s because cannabis is still illegal on the federal level, and recommending marijuana is against several medical groups’ standards, according to Hogan. Vibrant Health Clinic’s doctors, she added, have specific malpractice insurance because they only conduct cannabis examinations. “The doctors have the legal authority to write the recommendations, but they refuse to do so. And it’s critical that politicians comprehend the reality of the situation… I believe it still requires a great deal of effort, and I do not believe we should rush it since it will effect thousands of patients who are using it legally “Hogan stated.
Jason Warf, Executive Director of the Southern Colorado Cannabis Council, believes that a few things in the law are unconstitutional. According to him, the bill limits patient access to cannabis. “In our opinion, it’s just another means to get away of medical, which is unfortunately the aim of some people,” Warf added.
Warf opposes the law, claiming that it will harm the concentrate industry. “It’s self-evident that it will drive them back into the black market.”