Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Cost may be biggest hurdle to red card

By: The Gazette Op/Ed
March 25, 2015 Updated: March 25, 2015 at 5:47 am
0

Critics of Colorado’s medical marijuana program say it’s a fraud starting with the application process to get a red card, which allows a person to buy and use marijuana.

Is getting on the state’s Medical Marijuana Registry as easy as everyone says? The Gazette decided to see what the process involves.

See also: No approved ‘medicine’ in marijuana

Applying for a red card was a little more involved than buying cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine, but not much. The requirement of a doctor’s examination and approval, for example, was as simple as having a quick cup of coffee with a stranger.

It took $95 and 46 minutes — maybe five of those with the doctor — to get a recommendation to use medical marijuana. No stethoscope, no blood pressure reading, no checking of the pulse.

See also: Medical marijuana industry still growing

Making an appointment was easy: Google “how to get a red card in Colorado Springs” to find local clinics, sign up online and you’ll get a phone call and a text within minutes to confirm an appointment.

Don’t have any medical records? Shouldn’t be a problem. Applicants need only bring an ID, a $15 money order for the state application fee and $80 cash to cover the appointment and notary services. All application paperwork is on-site.

The waiting room in one Colorado Springs MMJ clinic was packed with men and women, from 20-somethings to senior citizens, on a recent afternoon. One man worried he wouldn’t qualify but was quickly assured he should see the doctor to be sure. Office staff members were polite, professional and efficient.

Upon arrival, patients were asked for a driver’s license, which was photocopied and returned, and given a clipboard with a sheet from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment titled “Medical Marijuana Registry — Application for Registration Card.” Instructions: Fill out lines 1 through 12 only, which consists of the usual personal data — name, address, date of birth. “Line 8 says County, Not Country,” each person was instructed. “Please put El Paso.”

Two other sheets required signatures, one detailing health privacy laws.

Our diagnosis after explaining our symptoms: severe pain. Advice: Try eating a very small amount of an edibles cookie before bed. With that, the physician paperwork was signed.

Next step: Hand over $80. A packet was put together with everything necessary for a red card, including a notarized copy of the application, a driver’s license copy, the $15 money order and the physician certification sheet, and placed in an addressed envelope to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Final instructions: Send the envelope certified mail and keep the receipt. Apparently some dispensaries accept the receipt and a copy of the paperwork as a temporary red card.


Local Red Card Holders

The number of people on the Medical Marijuana Registry has jumped in El Paso and Teller counties:

Year El Paso Teller
Dec. 31, 2014 17,986 936
Dec. 31, 2013 15,320 855
Dec. 31, 2012 14,888 922
Dec. 31, 2011 10,408 737
Dec. 31, 2010* 12,173 949
Dec. 31, 2009 2,947 300

* First year after federal memorandum

Source: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

or
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.