Last Thursday was a hell of a day: It was Day Two after Colorado House Bill 1284 passed its final legislative hurdle on the way to Gov. Bill Ritter's desk, and people were still reacting to it. (We documented some early reactions in last week's column.) It was also the day after the Colorado Springs police, according to Jessica Hogan of the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council, broke down the door of multiple area grows, took plant clippings and seized all patient records.
Here's what police spokesman Sgt. Steve Noblitt knew about the raids at the time: "I don't have any information yet. You're not the only one asking for it, so I've got to look into this. There is no information out there."
And attorney Cliff Black: "I don't know much about it because none of my clients have been charged, that I'm aware of. So what I'm hearing is just rumors."
A full five days later, the rumors persist — and so does a level of panic, even if MMJ folks have ceased calling the Indy offices to find out if we know the story of what's going on.
"Everyone is really freaked out," says Tanya Garduno, of the Cannabis Council. "There's a lot of speculation, but very few facts about what's happened. [Those involved] hope if they stay quiet that maybe things will calm down. It's really disheartening and scary for a lot of people."
Police declined to provide the names of the places that were searched, saying only that they suspected them of illegal grows. But it's hard to accept that it'd be that black-and-white, given the timing, District Attorney Dan May's anti-dispensary proclivities — including the filing of a personal complaint against Pure Medical 2 in Rockrimmon a couple months ago — and the fact that no arrests have been made or charges filed.
Local entrepreneur and industry investor Brett Strauss, in partnership with Colorado Compassionate Physicians, has a "no bullshit" proposition for those who are suffering from terminal cancer, AIDS or other illnesses.
"I don't care if they come from Grand Junction — we'll go ahead and pay for every single patient that has a terminal illness that would like to try medical marijuana. We'll go ahead and pay for all of their doctors' visits entirely, so that they can maybe have some kind of hope," Strauss says. "On top of it, we're going to offer medication to all these people who are dying at whatever it cost me."
Strauss isn't just acting as a Good Samaritan — he's speaking as a survivor.
"Back in '07, I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer; they removed my thyroid, gave me radiation," he says. "Then, back in December last year, I went for a routine ultrasound, and I got re-diagnosed with five tumors in my neck. They were all malignant with cancer."
Though he initially didn't buy into all of the plant's reputed benefits, Strauss pulled a back muscle the next day, and found that cannabinoid cream actually helped. That was all it took for him to try it on his neck.
"So I started putting this stuff on my tumors every single day. [After] my cancer surgery March 15, those five tumors were removed and every one of them was benign," he says. "I'm telling you, every single one of those tumors [had] tested positive for malignant cancer."
To help give back, Strauss says terminal patients can call 571-9649 to schedule doctor's appointments, and get help with the necessary paperwork and fees, as well as — for those who qualify — receive a ride to Denver to turn in SSI-related fee-waiving forms. Additionally, a May 26 clinic at CCP Care Center (5030 Boardwalk Drive) will offer free medical reviews from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Of course, it's not just about altruism.
"It's not something that in the end won't make money for me — it will," Strauss says. "It might cost me $50,000 or $60,000 for the next couple months when I'm funding it, but I'm OK with that — it saved my life. So if I save one more person's life, it would be worth it for me. And that's real talk."
• Giving information that will surprise nobody whose head isn't lodged firmly in their legislative body, Rasmussen Reports released a phone survey last week showing that 49 percent of likely Colorado voters support outright legalization and taxation of marijuana. Men were more supportive of legalization than women, while most Democrats and independents were for the change, and most Republicans were not.
• Green Earth Wellness Center (519 N. 30th St., greenearthcsco.org) is now offering a variety of edibles from Denver-based wholesaler Mangia Ganja (mangiaganja.net). Look for medicinally infused gelato and ice cream sandwiches, as well as salsas and salad dressings.
MG's website says all products are professionally made in a commercial kitchen "using top shelf, locally grown medical marijuana and natural ingredients," and each product contains roughly one-and-a-half grams of THC "in butter, oil or tincture form."
• Boulder medical marijuana centers have gone green, again: regulations passed on Tuesday require centers to replace 100 percent of electricity used with solar or wind power.
Send MMJ news to firstname.lastname@example.org.