Residents react to proposed medical marijuana dispensary

Upon hearing that a local man plans to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Craig, residents and community leaders seem split in their opinions.

Although many said they are concerned about keeping marijuana away from children and those who would consume it recreationally, they also expressed an open mind toward marijuana's medical benefits.

Matt Beckett, director of the Moffat County Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, said he would like to be involved in city discussions about how to regulate dispensaries but that he has seen medical marijuana's benefits.

"We would want some requirements about responsible ownership and making sure it was nowhere near schools or places kids hang out," Beckett said. "Personally, I don't have anything against the medical use of marijuana. I had a grandfather that had cancer, and they prescribed it for appetite. It definitely has uses."

The Craig City Council plans to have two meetings about the issue Tuesday evening, one during a public workshop at 5:30 p.m. and another during its regular meeting at 7:30 p.m.

Shaun Hadley, the resident interested in opening a local dispensary with his business partner from Longmont, plans to address the council during its regular meeting.

Both meetings will occur at Craig City Hall, 300 W. Fourth St.

Other people besides Beckett plan to be involved in the process.

Doug Wood, pastor of Craig Christian Church, said he thinks marijuana has medical uses, but not many.

Complicating the issue is that the state's regulatory system makes it easy for someone to fraudulently obtain marijuana, Wood said.

"If it's truly a medical situation, I wouldn't have a problem with it," he said. "In different communities, I've seen it abused in the past."

Wood added that he and the church plan to closely watch what happens, and if it seems a dispensary isn't necessary in Craig, he'd like the community to avoid opening one.

Not all residents plan to be as involved, however.

Joel Sheridan, board chairman for Communities Overcoming Meth Abuse, said his organization wants to focus its efforts on methamphetamine and does not have a position on medical marijuana.

"If we tried to tackle everything, we wouldn't be able to do anything," Sheridan said.

He added that he personally thinks marijuana does not seem to be as threatening to people, their families and communities as meth, though he's also not convinced marijuana has any medicinal value.

State Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, somewhat agreed with Sheridan's view, but he said there is ample evidence that marijuana can be dangerous as a gateway drug, as well.

Either way, he does not plan to introduce any new legislation during the 2010 session to further regulate medicinal marijuana, though the current system seems to put a burden on local communities.

The state has no regulations governing so-called caregivers - those selected by marijuana patients to grow and supply their marijuana - or dispensaries, such as the one planned in Craig.

Since the State Board of Health rejected a motion July 20 to limit the number of marijuana patients one person could have, larger scale dispensaries have popped up across the state, said Mark Salley, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment spokesman.

Without a limit on the number of patients a caregiver can supply, it seems to be more viable for caregivers to open dispensary storefronts for larger numbers of customers, Salley said.

White said he doesn't think the Legislature has the power to do anything more with medical marijuana.

"I don't think we have the authority to regulate something the federal government classifies as illegal," the senator said.

At the same time, he knows marijuana dispensaries are not a small issue.

"It seems like most towns across my district are getting into the same thing," White said. "It's not something unique to Craig. It's everywhere right now."

Medical marijuana itself is not new to Northwest Colorado.

The Department of Health reports there are 12 registered marijuana patients in Moffat County, as well as 34 in Routt County and seven in Rio Blanco County.

Although some Craig physicians did not return phone calls or refused to comment, Dr. Joel Miller, of High Country Medical, said he has recommended "a couple of people" for medical marijuana in the past.

"If the person has the right indicators, those that are listed in the law like glaucoma or pain, it works really well," Miller said.

He added he thinks the state system allows many people to consume marijuana recreationally instead of for specific treatments.

Still, he said he thinks a local marijuana dispensary could be valuable to some.

"It'd be a good idea for the people who need it," Miller said. "For them, it'd be a good thing."

Comments

Marvin 4 years, 8 months ago

I would just like to say that dispensaries are NOT regulated by religious organizations, they are regulated by the state, and there is a clear division of church and state that I think Mr. Wood has forgotten. He can have his opinion, but the guidlines are up to the state of Colorado, and the city of Craig. What next Mr. Wood? Why dont you put MORE time and energy into keeping kids away from cigarettes and alcohol? Both cause cancer, decrease your life span, and are NOT medically reccomended. all of which Marijuana does NOT!

"If it's truly a medical situation, I wouldn't have a problem with it," he said. "In different communities, I've seen it abused in the past."

Wood added that he and the church plan to closely watch what happens, and if it seems a dispensary isn't necessary in Craig, he'd like the community to avoid opening one.

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trout2k 4 years, 8 months ago

People abuse sugar, food, sex, and even prescription drugs. The harmful side effects of Marijuana are much less than morphine or oxycontin. People abuse aspirin. At some point, we as a society need to stop creating rules out of fear. We are about to implode. We can only suggest things that are life-threatening and then move on. For example, we can make a law about seat belt, but not everyone is going to wear one because of the law. Most of the people I know who wear their seat belts do so because they want to increase their odds of survival in the event of an accident. At some point, we as a society have to begin to allow individuals to choose their own paths even if we agree or disagree. Imposing our will on others is narcissism at its sickest and most terrified form. Legalize it and move on.

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daybyday 4 years, 8 months ago

Pastor Woods clearly acknowledged both the state's regulatory system and also that marijuana has medical uses. Thank you for acknowledging he 'can have his opinion,' since the U.S. Constitution was ratified by each state in the name of The People, and I believe even pastor's are people and even vote. :) Pastors should stay on top of this issue, since they will be expected to be advisors to their congregations and beyond into their communities.

It is my understanding that smoking marijuana is a non-secular activity because there is nothing inherently religious about it, unless used under certain circumstances. (There is much said in the Bible, however, about drunkedness.)

Personally, I am a proponent of medical marijuana for pain and nausea symptoms for those in chronic pain and/or terminal illness, although I don't yet understand what all the ramifications of such legalization will be. I watched a small portion of a special a while back (which I thought was on PBS, but can't find any reference to it now). I'm sorry I didn't see much of the program, but in this small, rural community in CA, as the marijuana growers moved in, the locals were moving out due to increased crime. Something to consider.

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A_Happy_Lawyer 4 years, 8 months ago

@ daybyday -- You are probably thinking of the CNBC documentary "Marijuana, Inc" -- anyone can watch it here if they'd like: http://www.hulu.com/watch/54312/cnbc-originals-marijuana-inc#x-0,vepisode,1

At about 10:00 into it, we meet a couple who is leaving Potter Valley, CA because they are surrounded (overrun, honestly) by pot gardens, and because a neighbor's house burned down in a fire related to growing. There is a distinct difference between Potter Valley and Craig, though. First, the issue for this couple was not medical marijuana growing or use. In Mendocino County, there is a local law allowing anyone to grow marijuana, for any purpose, medical or recreational. For the most part local law enforcement has decided to ignore all of it. So the problem isn't really due to a small number of licensed medical users operating legally within the guidelines set by the State Board of Health. It's a pot-smoker's free-for-all over there, criminal or otherwise, an "anything goes" environment. Mendocino County, CA is a radical paradise for free-thinking left-wing liberals and hippies, and blessed with a mild Mediterranean climate ideal for outdoor cultivation. Moffat County, CO . . . isn't.

I would not want to see that kind of environment in Craig, and I don't think I ever will, honestly. If this proposed business operates wisely and professionally, 99% of the people won't even know it is there. I would encourage them to be very discreet, and to find a location that operates in a such a low-key manner, you could drive right past and not even know it is there. The patients will find it. Nobody else needs to be bothered by it.

I agree also that this is not a religious issue, and I hope nobody tries to muddle up the debate by trying to make it one, either "for" or "against" the proposed business. Religious issues never cease to incite deep emotions and strong opinions, and there really is no need for that here. From what I read, Pastor Wood is uncertain about the issue, and open to discussion, which is very good to hear. He is an advocate for his community, just like Mr. Hadley has become an advocate for the medical marijuana community. Perhaps each community is cautious of one another, uncertain of the other's intentions. I truly hope both communities can offer olive branches before they cast stones. There is no reason why they can't peacefully co-exist, because I don't think medical marijuana is anti-religious any more than religion is anti-medical marijuana. In the end, both communities exist because they want to improve the quality of life for their constituents.

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daybyday 4 years, 8 months ago

Happy Lawyer,

Thank you for the link to the documentary I was attempting to reference. :)

Any legally prescribed drug has the same potential for use or abuse, and any law is only effective in so far as pertains to law-abiding citizens. But it's then the same law-abiding citizens that must deal with the ramifications from those who choose to abuse or ignore the laws. That considered, I still see a couple of differences between currently offered pain and nausea medications and medical marijuana.

One, that the disensaries will not be regulated by any standard of either dosage or potency. Are both these issues not a problem? If the true reason for legalization of marijuana is compassionate use, and if marijuana is to be considered a legal drug, why are there no regulations or even recommendations in place regarding legal dosage and/or potency?

Two, would be in the regard to the protection of infants and children, and again assuming a reasonable person would keep all medications out of the reach of children. The difference here, however, is that according to the statues of the medical marijuana law, marijuana can only be used in the privacy of one's home, not in a public place, and not outside. As parents and caregivers are understanding the dangers of second-hand smoke on the health and well-being of non-smokers, we are, at the same time, requiring that smoking of marijuana be contained to inside the home.

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A_Happy_Lawyer 4 years, 8 months ago

daybyday,

You're right, there is no guideline really for dosage or potency, or consistency of the product. In many ways medical marijuana is in its infancy in Colorado, and other States as well. But, it's worth noting that marijuana is considered non-toxic, and impossible to overdose on. Not one case in medical history, ever, has a human being overdosed on marijuana. Not once. Not ever. So, in that regard, allowing a user to moderate his/her own dosage of marijuana according to need is not nearly so dangerous as compared to, say, giving someone a bottle of Vicodin without any guidance as to dosage. I don't think many patients have a problem figuring out how much to use to address their specific need.

One way in which a lawful dispensary can help though, is in providing consistently high-quality, well prepared medical marijuana, which is something you can't always count on in the black market. You don't always know where that stuff was grown, whether it was sprayed with pesticides, or for that matter, whether it has been adulterated with other substances. And if you buy a bad batch, as a customer there is little you can do in a black-market situation. Dispensaries tend to be very, very quality conscious. People who grow for the medical community are a special breed unto themselves -- they are proud of their work, and they can talk to you for hours about the specific genetics of the plants they are using, the organic fertilizers and non-chemical pest control, their harvesting, drying, and curing procedures, etc., etc. With a real, legitimate, brick-and-mortar dispensary, a customer has a place to voice dissatisfaction, and since this is a real business, can lodge a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or other agencies to seek appropriate relief if they think they have been ripped off. Which is another reason lawful dispensaries have an interest in maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction, like any other business.

As for the second-hand smoke issue, not all medical patients smoke. Some 'vaporize,' which produces very little smoke at all, and almost no residual second-hand smoke. Others prefer edible products made with marijuana. Ultimately though, you can never 100% control whether someone is going to smoke inside, in the same room as their kids, with marijuana any more than you can with cigarettes. Like it or not, each parent has responsibility for their own children, and we all hope that every parent is as responsible as we would like them to be. Some are not, but that's really a parenting issue, not a medical marijuana issue.

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Craig_Apothecary 4 years, 8 months ago

Craig Apothecary has opened for business! We are now taking appointments by phone. We will also be offering free bio-feedback and drug counseling sessions in the near future! Don't have your card? Do you have a qualifying condition, and need help getting it? Call us! We have all of the necessary documents, literature, and forms, and we can put you in touch with a Doctor! Find out if Medical Marijuana is right for you! Call us anytime at 970-824-5580 Shaun Hadley Owner, Craig Apothecary

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Sumarjn 4 years, 8 months ago

All pot heads have a qualifying condition for medical pot. It is called "brain-dead". This condition radiates throughout the body and creates "lazy-itis".

Any thoughts of a steady job or real work creates a migrain and a sore back.

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A_Happy_Lawyer 4 years, 8 months ago

@ Sumarjn your comments are offensive and display a total ignorance of medical marijuana. How many patients, licensed by the Colorado State Board of Health, and with a recommendation and prescription from their personal physician, do you personally know that fit your description? I don't know a single one.

It's time to set the record straight. "Pot heads" are not medical marijuana users. Yes, marijuana is a drug that can be abused, nobody is arguing that. Your comments may be applicable to drug abusers, but drug abusers are not the issue here.

I am surprised that you think so poorly of the Colorado Board of Health. Do you really believe that this group of Physicians and medical professionals, among the most respected in their field, are incapable of telling the difference between a "pot head" and a medical marijuana patient? They are not you are. The Board has made its decision, and determined that marijuana is a safe and effective medicine for certain patients, when prescribed by a Physician. This is the same agency, by the way, that sets the licensing standards for Memorial Hospital. Do you think they are incompetent in that regard as well? Will you be protesting Memorial Hospital as a haven for quack medicine and drug pushers?

If the State Board is not capable of regulating health care in Colorado who is? You?

And, just fyi, neither a "migrain" [sic] nor simply a "sore back" are authorized conditions for the use of medical marijuana in Colorado. Try Advil.

You are perpetuating ignorance and prejudice, and doing a great disservice to the health and safety of your community, by spewing such a hateful and untruthful comment. I am appalled.

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GreyStone 4 years, 8 months ago

Craig Apothecary has opened for business!

Wow, pot smokers walking into a designated place of business to cop.

This might be a gold mine if documentation for law enforcement.

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irishbrat 4 years, 8 months ago

This person did the same thing on another forum; I believe that is promoting a web site when they put their own dot com on the forum. I know you can't babysit every forum but you could have mentioned something to Shaun in private. Its like yelling at your kids in public.

Portable_Storage (Anonymous) says:

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daybyday 4 years, 8 months ago

Craig_Apothecary,

I hope starting off on the wrong foot by ignoring requirements, rules and regulations was a matter of oversight on your part, and not an indicator of how you intend to conduct your business in the future. (sigh)

Per Craig Daily Press submission rules:

By contributing to this website, you:

•Agree not to solicit others. You agree not to contribute for the purposes of advertising or to solicit anyone to buy or sell products or services, or to make donations of any kind, or to promote other websites, without our express written approval, or where expressly permitted.

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Craig_Apothecary 4 years, 8 months ago

@Daybyday -- You are correct, this was a minor oversight on my part. I only wanted to make a public record of the fact that my dispensary was open as of August 22, 2009.

I have marked my own post for deletion and apologize to the Daily Press and its readers.

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Sumarjn 4 years, 8 months ago

Happy Lawyers and Happy Doctors, jumping on the Medical Pot Happy Bandwagon? Imagine that!

My comments are offensive to pot heads hiding behind so called medical pot? Wow! Who would have thunk that?

And to think an ambulance chasing lawyer would be appalled?

Let's just hope the Feds find cause to bust the medical pot ruse.

The ignorance is yours < > Happy Lawyer > and your faux' reporting is just why your so called profession is at the same level > or just below that of a used car salesman...

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daybyday 4 years, 8 months ago

irishbrat,

I understand, but I had my reasons. Not only is this a public forum, but I believe this community will expect a higher standard of ethics from the Craig Apothecary than from a personal storage facility. Mr. Hadley answered my question and handled my public confrontation in a profession, honest and adult manner, which gives me (and potentially others) confidence.

As I've said, I agree with the compassionate use law, and only hope that those with dispensaries will hold to (and go beyond) the highest standards of both legal and ethical behavior, so we don't have many who look back and say, "I knew that was a bad idea." As far as what I've read in this forum, Shaun is handling the pressure better than his opponents, and I wish him well.

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