House votes to bar cities from banning medical pot |

House votes to bar cities from banning medical pot

Steven K. Paulson
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER – A House committee on Monday rejected a plan that would have allowed Colorado communities to ban stores selling medical marijuana, saying they have the power to license and zone providers if they want to regulate the industry.

It’s the latest attempt by lawmakers to regulate the proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries, while at the same time obeying the will of voters who approved use of the drug in 2000 under Amendment 20.

Rep. Steve King, a Republican from Grand Junction, said lawmakers have the right to set limits on dispensaries.

“Amendment 20 was never intended to have a pot shop on every corner and a bud in every bowl,” he told the House Judiciary Committee.

Dispensaries largely favor some kind of regulation to ensure they’re recognized as legal businesses, but smaller shops fear only larger operations will be able to meet the standards. Some patients say their needs have been ignored in the rush to regulate the booming industry.

The committee rejected a proposal that could have allowed veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder to be able to use medical marijuana, saying lawmakers shouldn’t be making medical decisions.

Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, wanted to amend proposed medical marijuana regulations (House Bill 1284) to require people to get a recommendation from a psychiatrist diagnosing the disorder before they would qualify for medical marijuana.

“Frankly, I think it’s one small step to help our veterans,” Pace said.

Pace offered a compromise that would have required the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to decide if PTSD was treatable with marijuana, which the committee rejected.

Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, said lawmakers shouldn’t make medical decisions.

“By putting this in statute, we’re starting a laundry list of conditions,” she told the committee.

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