Open letter to the Colorado Senate
I am writing in opposition to SB16-080 concerning Secured Marijuana Cultivation Requirements.
First, this bill applies to persons “under twenty-one years of age” which is incorrect under our medical marijuana law. Patients over the age of eighteen may legally cultivate medical marijuana without parental permission or supervision.
While we may agree that safety and responsibility should be exercised in cultivation, as with safe storage, I do not believe that criminal or civil penalties should apply just because it’s marijuana.
Better public education on responsible cultivation would be much more effective. We know education works. For example, as consumers have gotten more educated on child-resistant packaging and safe storage, we’ve seen fewer children visiting emergency rooms for accidental ingestion of marijuana.
This bill is unnecessary. If this is an issue of public safety, I have to ask, why marijuana and not other substances? And why medical marijuana?
We have evidence that children may be harmed by ingesting other legal substances like alcohol, tobacco and over-the-counter or prescription drugs, yet we don’t require locking liquor or medicine cabinets. Every year children are harmed by firearms in the home, yet we don’t require trigger locks or gun safes. Fertilizers and pesticides used in cultivation are no more toxic than the laundry detergent, cleaning supplies or other chemicals stored under every sink in the state. So why require locking and enclosing marijuana and not all these other things that could potentially harm children or be attractive to teens?
At the hearing, supporters of the bill seemed most concerned with outdoor cultivation, which this bill doesn’t address, nor should it. Is it right to penalize the victims of break-ins or theft of personal property just because it’s marijuana?
We encourage patients to secure their home grows to protect their investment, to protect their medicine. The old mindset that stealing from a cannabis garden is without consequence, as it was under prohibition, must be changed. Another opportunity for education.
Again, public education on responsible cultivation would go a long way toward resolving many of these issues without criminalizing what are legal activities under the Colorado Constitution. Problems with accessibility to or odor from outdoor plants should be treated by local governments as they might any other nuisance. Those who steal personal property should be held accountable.
Finally, requiring all medical marijuana to be locked and enclosed may be onerous for the neediest of patients, driving up costs and reducing access. For many patients, cultivating at home, indoors or out, may be the only way they can afford medical cannabis, for which they already pay 100% out of pocket. The added expense of building greenhouses, installing fencing and other security would put their needed medicine out of reach.
We oppose any efforts that would make it more difficult for patients to have legal, safe and affordable access to medical marijuana. We oppose SB16-080.
Founder / Executive Director
Cannabis Patients Alliance
— Rx MaryJane (Teri Robnett)
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