by Nat Stein
In addition to all the consumption oriented festivities going on today, a march on City Hall brought a small but mighty crowd of medical marijuana supporters out to vent some frustrations. Their message? Leave our plants alone.
Amendment 20 may have legalized medical marijuana back in 2000, but patients now feel their rights are under attack. That attack comes in the form of a proposed ordinance to limit all residences in the Springs to 12 marijuana plants total, period, no matter how many adults, patients or caregivers live there.
Around 30 diehards turned out to voice their discontent on council’s turf.
Notable among the crowd of patients, their family members and supporters were two people who say they plan on becoming candidates for city council — Joseph Carlson and Hemp Hurd — both of whom intend to make cannabis a central part of their campaign.
Carlson’s take on the matter as a would-be elected official: “I say leave it alone, let them grow. We should be focusing on the rapists, the murderers — not the patients.”
Both federal and local law enforcement have raised concerns about so-called “home invasions" — when out-of-staters move into Colorado’s legal marijuana haven, grow a ton of plants in a residential home then ship it to thirstier markets throughout the country. Fear of that kind of criminal activity is what’s driving plant count limits here in the Springs and in municipalities around the state.
Legitimate medical marijuana users, like 47-year-old Tammie Bruner, worry about shouldering the consequences of a few bad actors. She moved to the Springs in September from Kentucky to get better access to the one medicine that works against her seizures: cannabis.
“I was shocked to come here and find out they were still coming after my medicine,” she told the Independent.
If she can’t grow all her plants at home she’ll have to make up the difference at a dispensary. And that, Bruner says, is an expensive prospect.
“It costs like $45 a gram and that only lasts me two days if I’m really careful. It takes a lot (of cannabis) to control my seizures. And that’s the only reason I have my life back,” she says. “I don’t want to become a criminal again, I just was to be healthy and happy.”