Colorado is one of sixteen states that have recognized medical marijuana to date. California, Colorado, New Mexico, Maine, Montana, Michigan and Rhode Island are the only states to utilize medical marijuana dispensaries to sell medical marijuana.
In the November 2000 general election, Coloradoans passed Amendment 20, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) was tasked with implementing and administering the Medical Marijuana Registry program. In March of 2001, the State of Colorado Board of Health approved the Rules and Regulations pertaining to the administration of the program, and on June 1st, 2001, the Registry began accepting and processing applications for Registry Identification cards. Dispensaries began to appear in 2008.
Medical marijuana is typically used to treat conditions, or side effects that arise from conditions, such as chronic pain, seizures, nausea, cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, muscle spasms, and cachexia. Anyone seeking medical marijuana must see a doctor to get the paperwork required. There are a number of clinics that work with doctors specializing in medical marijuana. The State sends a card to the patient when they are accepted onto the registry.
Medical marijuana is made available to patients 35 days after they send in their paperwork to the State and are approved. Patients are required to keep their paperwork and/or card with them whenever they have medical marijuana with them.
Since the registry began operating in June 2001, 99,559 new patient applications have been received and more than 1,100 different physicians have signed for patients in Colorado. Seventy-one percent of approved applicants are male and the average age of all patients is 40 years old. Severe pain accounts for 94% of all reported conditions.
Boulder, which is known as the most liberal city in Colorado and has a history of having been a hot spot for hippies and the counter-culture movement in the 1960s, is home to approximately 10% of Colorado’s medical marijuana patients.