Last week the Colorado Department of Health announced a new medical cannabis crackdown that puts patients growing more than the standard number of pot plants in the hot seat.
Officials began sending out letters to medical marijuana patients and their physicians requiring them to provide documentation to justify cultivating more than the six plants permitted by state law.
The crackdown was announced at a town hall meeting on March 28 when the Health Department’s executive director, Dr. Larry Wolk, stated that physicians who recommend more than six plants must provide medical information demonstrating the reason patients require the additional cannabis. Doctors must also reference studies that have been previously conducted indicating that more cannabis is imperative for a particular affliction.
Colorado’s constitutional medical pot provision allows for growing more than a half-dozen plants if an increased amount is “medically necessary to address the patient’s debilitating medical condition.”
Dr. Wolk also revealed his department will urge the state General Assembly to pass a bill that would limit caregivers to cultivating six plants for no more than five patients – currently caregivers apply for waivers to grow for more than five people.
According to Dr. Wolk, out of 3,300 registered medical cannabis caregivers in Colorado, 24 serve more than five patients. One, Wolk points out, serves 82 patients.
Medical pot proponents counter that higher plant totals are required to manufacture cannabis concentrates and medicated edibles, which some consider a better way to treat patients.