12 Plant Count Limit in Effect
In what is becoming a disturbing trend across in this state, El Paso County joins Denver in limiting the number of plants a medical marijuana patient may grow on their own property. This move cannot be countered with a Doctors authorized additional plant count prescription. 12 plants, no exceptions. Not only is El Paso County dictating medical treatment (please by all means El Paso County, I will take back my statement if you can show me your medical school degree), but they are brazenly flaunting the will of the people of Colorado. When Coloradans approved Amendment 20, strict privacy laws were put in place to protect patients and caregivers from harassment from law enforcement. Only the Colorado Department of Public Heath and Environment has a list of all medical patients, and they are prohibited from showing that list, or any information on it, to anybody. There is even a criminal statute that makes such dissemination illegal:
“Any person including, but not limited to, any officer, employee, or agent of the department, or any officer, employee, or agent of any state or local law enforcement agency, who releases or makes public any confidential record or any confidential information contained in any such record that is provided to or by the marijuana registry or primary caregiver registry of the department without the written authorization of the marijuana registry patient commits a class 1 misdemeanor.” (C.R.S § 18-18-406.3(5))
An article on the issue quoted unnamed county commissioners as saying “a lot of growers tell law enforcement their plants are for patients and there’s no way to verity it because of privacy laws.” This is a wonderful observation because it’s a statement confirming that the laws are working exactly as intended. Too bad they cite their desire to get around those laws as an actual legal justification for such circumvention. They might as well be saying “well, we don’t like people being able to criticize the local government, so we are suspending their rights to free speech and assembly.”
This law may have a small impact on the black market trade but the people it is really going to hurt are the patients and caregivers who are growing legally and have a legitimate reason for an increased plant count. These people are the in majority and they are the people who will comply with the rules because they do not wish to break the law. The people growing for black market purposes are going to keep on growing regardless of the new rule. The second most populous city in Colorado, Colorado Springs, is located in El Paso County this rule has the potential to hurt a lot of people.
The good news is these regulations are temporary and the commissioners will have to hold another hearing in September to make them permanent. The Rodman Law Group urges the citizens of El Paso County to contact the Board of County Commissioners to tell them that they have no right to dictate how a medical doctor treats his or her patients and that they do not have the power to circumvent the will of the people of this great state.