Marijuana Tracking on The Way in Colorado
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Marijuana Tracking on The Way in Colorado
Posted by CN Staff on September 29, 2010 at 12:02:55 PT
By Kristen Wyatt, The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Denver -- Colorado wants to set up a first-in-the-nation tracking system of medical marijuana purchases to deter people from buying vast amounts of pot and selling it on the black market.Patients and marijuana advocates fear they will be harassed by a Big Brother-type intrusion as computers and video cameras monitor every ounce of pot sold in the state. Officials are also considering fingerprinting marijuana patients and keeping tabs on pot with radio-frequency devices.
"This is a matter of my functioning daily living," said Diane Bilyeu, a 49-year-old woman who sometimes consumes up to 2 grams of pot in a day to treat her chronic pain since losing her right arm and leg in a 1997 car accident. "Some days I need more or less. I don't know what business it is of the government's."Officials say the regulations will provide basic protections to ensure that the system isn't being abused by drug dealers and users.Medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2000, but the recent proliferation of marijuana dispensaries prompted state lawmakers this year to pass a series of new regulations.It is an issue playing out around the country with 14 states allowing medical marijuana and possibly more to come under November ballot measures.No state has gone so far to track pot purchases from seed to sale like Colorado is proposing, and regulators say their tracking plans could be a model for other states. Montana lawmakers are expected to consider medical marijuana tracking in that state when they convene next year.Specifics of Colorado's tracking plans haven't yet been drafted. Regulators say they'll have a plan by January to use video surveillance and a central computer system to flag multiple purchases.Other ideas include using biometrics to track patients, requiring a fingerprint scan before each sale to make sure the customer matches the marijuana card. They are also considering mandating that medical pot include radio-frequency identification devices, somewhat like coded tags on library books, to keep track of who's getting what.In addition, tracking could include requiring dispensaries to capture patient driver's licenses on camera to record their purchases."It's akin to the protections that are in place for pharmacies, or a wagering line at a horse or dog track," said Matt Cook, the senior director for medical marijuana enforcement for the Colorado Department of Revenue. "You need to maintain the public confidence in what is going on, and the only way to do that is through these systems."Cook said the state has no clue how much medical marijuana now is ending up on the black market because it lacks central tracking. An unscrupulous buyer could shop at several dispensaries and stock up on large quantities of pot, with no way to notice that Patient X is buying marijuana from multiple businesses.Cook described a scenario where a patient card is used to buy marijuana several times in one day from dispensaries located far apart. Under the tracking system, the state would be alerted of possible fraud and would notify all dispensaries not to sell to that patient until the state can verify that it is indeed the same person buying all the pot, which would be done through video surveillance soon to be required at pot shops.But patients are vowing to fight tracking plans. They're especially alarmed that state regulators have yet to issue specifics on how the tracking would work."It seems like there could be an ulterior motive here," said Randy James Martinez of Commerce City, 42, who uses medical marijuana for diabetic neuropathy. "Why do they need to keep such close track? Opiate abuse is far more prevalent and far more destructive than any marijuana use or abuse."A public hearing is planned on the tracking rules in January, but the tracking wouldn't require lawmaker approval because it would be considered an agency regulation.A marijuana activist who sits on the rulemaking panel, Brian Vicente of Sensible Colorado, said patients and dispensaries fear an onerous intrusion and are still waiting to hear how tracking would work."Right now I'd say there's a lot of fear and a lot of confusion out there," Vicente said.Associated Press Writer Amy Hanson in Helena, Mont., contributed to this report.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Kristen Wyatt, The Associated PressPublished:  September 29, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Associated PressCannabisNews  Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on September 30, 2010 at 10:57:42 PT
It's great to see you. I hope all is well.
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Comment #9 posted by fight_4_freedom on September 30, 2010 at 10:55:30 PT
This is ridiculous
I don't like the sounds of this invasion of privacy AT ALL!!! Hi FoM, Hope, and All!!! Hope all is well...God Bless
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Comment #8 posted by Paint with light on September 29, 2010 at 18:30:56 PT
OT hempcrete home
I just came across this house at trendhunter. cannabis is about a lot more than medical and recreational uses.Legal like alcohol.
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Comment #7 posted by Dr Ganj on September 29, 2010 at 17:20:58 PT:
Prop 19 editorial (OC Register)
PROP. 19: WE SHOULD SAY YES TO LEGAL MARIJUANA We've tried marijuana prohibition for three-quarters of a century, and all-out war in the last four decades. These policies manifestly don't work. What's next? Let's try something that heralds a new era of pragmatic, reasoned policies Proposition 19. Here is what it will do and what it will not do. Prop. 19 treats marijuana more like alcohol, letting adults possess or grow small amounts for personal use. And it authorizes local governments only if they choose to regulate and tax production and distribution. What Prop. 19 does not do: it doesn't authorize any employee to use marijuana on the job, nor stand in the way of an employer firing someone whose work is affected by marijuana. Suggestions that Prop. 19 legalizes smoke-filled workplaces are simply uninformed and silly. The initiative clearly states that prohibitions on controlled substances in the workplace remain intact. Applicable court decisions underscore that. And several sections in the initiative explicitly preserve present laws against operating vehicles, in an employment context and otherwise. These provisions apply to consumption while driving or that renders the driver impaired. Assertions that these provisions allow use "right before climbing behind the wheel" are also silly. Detractors appear to be worried about a narrowly crafted clause in the proposition that requires there to be some impairment of job performance for an employee to be disciplined or fired, protecting off-the-job use that has no effect on the workplace. But the effect of this clause is as it should be. You're allowed to own a dog or drink alcohol off the job, but employers can regulate these activities in the workplace same here. Alarmist opponents raise the specter of a "protected class" of marijuana users because of the protective clause. But the clause is not scary. The protection extends only to activity authorized by the Act, which does not include driving while impaired by marijuana, or using marijuana in the workplace. To be absolutely clear, there will be no change at all in terms of workplace controls on driving or operating heavy machinery in workplaces the school buses will stay as safe as they are today. For years, prohibitionists have based marijuana laws on the assumption that all use is abuse, but this is as untrue as it is with alcohol. By identifying impairment as the condition that triggers workplace sanctions, Prop. 19 challenges the notion that use and abuse of marijuana are one and the same. The other issue raised by opponents is road safety. Because driving laws will not change at all, officers will face the same challenges as today in determining whether drivers are competent. Sadly, no laws will prevent some people from turning that ignition key even if they are exhausted, angry or impaired by prescription drugs, illegal drugs or alcohol. While research has shown marijuana is not as dangerous a road factor as alcohol, an added challenge with marijuana has been the lack of a simple roadside test that can determine sobriety. Luckily, that challenge is already being lessened by advances in technology. Oral swab tests that indicate recent use of marijuana are being marketed today, and may come into wider use in the future. Meanwhile, even the widespread adoption of Breathalyzers has not replaced field sobriety tests in evaluating impairment. California has the highest number of trained drug recognition experts, and recently announced it would spend more on checkpoints than any state has ever spent. The only thing that will improve roadway safety is changing attitudes and enforcing the laws. And though technology will lessen concerns about marijuana road safety, we didn't wait for Breathalyzers to end alcohol prohibition. These are problems of today and tomorrow, irrespective of Prop 19. Let's get back to work on things that matter in California. Let's get back to work, period, with legitimate jobs and the promise of savings and new revenues that can preserve California's crumbling institutions. Today, marijuana is California's largest cash crop, yet is unregulated and untaxed. Let's stop using a policy of prohibition that just does not work. We deserve better, and we can choose a better system on Nov. 2 by voting yes on Prop. 19.
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Comment #6 posted by greenmed on September 29, 2010 at 17:12:45 PT
Give some people a hammer...
and they'll bash everything trying to "fix" it, when there's no reason to believe it's even broken in the first place."Cook said the state has no clue how much medical marijuana now is ending up on the black market because it lacks central tracking."
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on September 29, 2010 at 17:01:19 PT
They have "medical marijuana enforcement"? 
And that bureaucracy has a "Senior director"?
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on September 29, 2010 at 16:57:07 PT
What these lovers of "tracking" really want to do is embed codes in peoples hands or foreheads that they can read with scanners... about everything.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on September 29, 2010 at 16:52:37 PT
Oh my gosh.
Full blown "Reefer Madness". Will it ever die?They're scared half out of their minds. You'd think cannabis was deadly to look at, or at least radioactive, or that that it could creep out of it's container at night.... and ... do things. Scary, dangerous things.Aaaargh.Ignorant, fraidy cat, scare mongering, busy body, wasteful, power freaks.*sigh* 
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on September 29, 2010 at 13:34:25 PT
NAZI thinking.
Tracking seems like a NAZI direction to move in.-0-VideoGreen Marine Sun
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on September 29, 2010 at 12:42:50 PT
How about tracking the hundreds of thousands or so deadly or addictive pharmaceuticals in this way? It is a far larger problem and larger market than medical marijuana.I think everyone at Walgreen's and CVS should be quite happy to be finger printed. Right?
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