A panel to study the treatment of people with mental disorders in the criminal justice system calls for a 10% cap on the potency of THC for medical cannabis and has criticized the removal of a potency cap from a high-profile marijuana concentrate bill that cleared the General Assembly earlier this year.
The recommendation came as subcommittees of the Task Force on Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal Justice System presented the concepts of the bill to a legislative oversight committee on Wednesday. It was put forward by former Pueblo addiction psychiatrist, Dr Libby Stuyt, who said his “ulterior motive” for joining the task force was to sound the alarm on “really important issues with marijuana. high in THC “.
Speaking on behalf of the Data and Information Sharing Subcommittee, Stuyt touted the provisions of House Bill 1317, the landmark bill of the 2021 session to study high-content products. THC while keeping them out of reach of teenagers.
But she added that the bill “totally missed the boat” in one area: a cap on THC.
A first draft of Representative Yadira Caraveo’s bill, D-Thornton, obtained by Colorado Politics in February, included a cap set at 15%. This provision was removed when the bill was introduced in May, much to Stuyt’s chagrin.
“I really encourage you to think about this need that has been missed. We really need a power cap, ”she said, suggesting that lawmakers have caved in to the marijuana industry’s efforts to tackle the“ tooth and nail ”cap.
Stuyt pointed out that the 2015 House Bill 1267, which allows those on probation and parole to access medical marijuana, “caused all kinds of problems” during his tenure as medical director of the Circle Program in Colorado. Mental Health Institute in Pueblo.
“People (on probation or on parole) who were using their marijuana card for medical purposes, it was really difficult to work with them,” she added. “They would basically arrive at a high level upon admission and it took months for that to be removed from their system.”
Rather than repealing this bill, Stuyt said she would rather see an overall power limit.
But this recommendation was met with skepticism.
Representative Judy Amabile, D-Boulder, noted that it would be difficult to monitor those on probation or on parole.
“You wouldn’t know if someone took 90% THC or 5% THC when you take the test… they just test positive,” she said. “It seems to me that we should say that people who are on probation or on parole, just as they cannot drink alcohol, they cannot use cannabis. It seems to me that would be the only way to do it.
Representative Adrienne Benavidez, a Democrat from Denver who chairs the oversight committee, also said Stuyt’s demand for the cap to apply to all Colorado citizens with a medical marijuana card was likely too broad. to come within the purview of the committee, which focuses on the intersection of mental and behavioral health and the criminal justice system.
“I know the challenges if we bring a bill from this committee, which we are going to face to get it through only the Legislative Council,” she said. This group of legislative leaders from both parties and chambers is in part charged with reviewing legislation developed by interim committees to ensure that it falls within the committee’s responsibility.
Two members of the Legislative Council – President Alec Garnett, D-Denver, and Senator Paul Lundeen, R-Monument – were among the main sponsors of HB 1317. Asked about the potential return of a power cap when the project is unveiled law in May, Garnett said he believed the version of the legislation without a power cap represented “the advancement of what we believe to be Colorado’s most responsible approach.”
“There are some who want us to go much further than we are now,” he said. “Some don’t want us to do anything and what you have in front of you is a well-crafted collaborative bill. “
Stuyt’s stated goal also differed from Garnett’s emphasis when championing the bill throughout the legislative process. While Stuyt has said she hopes to see a general cap for medical marijuana of 10% THC, Garnett has focused heavily on keeping high potency THC products away from those whose brains are still. in development.
In fact, Garnett expressed concern about too strong a regulatory stance in a February interview with Colorado Politics on THC caps.
“No one’s goal should be to wipe out the constitutionally protected and legislated billion dollar industry that Colorado and the legislature have created over the past nine years,” Garnett said in this interview. “A lot of jobs are related to this industry, and obviously the general public has a fairly moderate relationship with marijuana products.
“You don’t want to come in and destroy the industry.”
Hashim Coates, executive director of Black Brown and Red Badged, a coalition of black and brown marijuana business owners, called the effort “downright odious.”
“It is not the right policy to address mental health assistance for those coming out of the criminal justice system, but it is not the right committee to re-propose prohibition and recriminalization,” a- he said in a statement. “Basically, the supporters of this policy want to further isolate the vulnerable in another social caste system and frankly we will not tolerate it.”
The Benavidez committee is due to meet again on Wednesday to discuss the demands for bills before meeting again at the end of October to vote on the legislation to be adopted.
The panel also includes Senator Robert Rodriguez, D-Denver, as Deputy Chairman, as well as Senator Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, and Cleave Simpson, R-Alamosa, and Representative Rod Pelton, R-Cheyenne Wells .