Romer wants to license marijuana caregivers |

Romer wants to license marijuana caregivers

DENVER – A state lawmaker wants Colorado regulators to consider licensing medical marijuana caregivers.

Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, has been working on a bill that would require medical marijuana dispensaries and growers to be licensed and submit to criminal background checks. Now he says he wants the individuals who supply the marijuana to also be licensed.

Romer plans to submit a request to the Department of Regulatory Affairs on Friday asking for their opinion. By law, the agency has two months to make a decision. If it agrees with Romer, caregiver licenses could be included in the medical marijuana regulation bill he plans to introduce during the new legislative session, which begins Wednesday.

Requiring caregivers to be licensed could eventually require them to go through certification programs, although Romer acknowledges none exist now. He said caregivers should be trained to make sure marijuana contains no mold or pesticides and is mixed with no other drugs. They also should be familiar with how different drugs could interact in patients, he said.

“Caregiving should be a sophisticated medical skill,” Romer said.

Brian Vicente, executive director of the marijuana advocacy group Sensible Colorado, opposes the idea.

Vicente said he’s open to regulating businesses that have developed to serve the growing number of medical marijuana patients. But he said the 2000 law passed by voters didn’t say that people providing marijuana had to meet any requirements.

“Marijuana is the safest drug known to man. It’s never caused an overdose. It’s never caused a death,” he said.

The number of people asking to use medical marijuana, as well as the number of dispensaries to serve, them have surged since the Obama administration signaled it wouldn’t crack down on medical marijuana users and suppliers in the 14 states that allow it.

An estimated 30,000 people have submitted applications to get medical marijuana cards in Colorado, but an updated count of how many have been approved isn’t available because of the high volume of applications. The last official count was just over 14,000 at the end of August, and the state health department says it’s still taking about three months to process applications.

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