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The Clinic: Colorado Rejects New Limits on Cannabis Caregivers

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After hearing testimony from marijuana caregivers who specialize in growing cannabis strains specifically bred for pediatric use on Tuesday, Colorado health authorities voted 6-1 to drop a proposed new regulation that would have strictly limited all such caregivers to serving ten or fewer patients. Parents with children who suffer from severe epilepsy and other serious ailments also spoke before the Colorado Board of Health, including many who called blocking the proposed rule change a literal matter of life and death for their kids.

“I cannot be one of those dropped. My child will die,” Janea Cox said, after describing how her entirely family uprooted from their former home in Macon, Georgia and transplanted to Colorado Springs in search of non-psychoactive cannabis medicine rich in a beneficial cannabinoid called CBD.

According to the Denver Post, however, even though the caregiver cap got voted down, the troubles for these parents may not be over:

Some parents who feared the cap could leave them without a source for the special medical-marijuana oil they use to treat their children still left the meeting in limbo, after state health officials told them they have been obtaining the oil against the law.

“We still have a problem there,” said board member Rick Brown. “We have no ability to affect the bigger issue here today.”

The “bigger issue” gets at the very definition of a caregiver, which according to state law requires providing comprehensive health care that goes beyond merely supplying marijuana.

“We want to change the perception that caregivers do nothing but provide marijuana to their patients,” said Dana Erpelding, director of Colorado’s Center for Health & Environmental Data.

“Caregivers that want to focus on production and distribution should look at becoming medical marijuana centers.”

Jason Carnford of Boulder County, just one of only four caregivers statewide who would have been affected by the proposed change, responded by charging lawmakers with putting their ill-conceived rules above the health and well-being of suffering children.

“I provide medicine that is needed,” he insisted, citing the six years he devoted to developing a marijuana variety bred to reduce seizures, before vowing to continue providing his medicine even if it means breaking the law. “What you’re asking me to do is put children’s blood on my hands and I’m not willing to do that.”

Cranford also rejected health officials’ suggestion that parents learn to cultivate their own high-CBD medicine.

“Their children are in wheelchairs,” He said, pointing to the families lined up behind him at the meeting. “Do you not see this? Do you think they have time to sit in a garden?”

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