Industry group says Colorado’s cannabis industry is falling behind

A slowdown across the marijauna industry is hitting Colorado, but it's hitting some harder than others.
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 3:16 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Colorado led the charge towards the legalization of marijuana for decades, and was among the first to legalize the drug for medical and recreational use. However, an industry group says that the state is falling behind.

Cannabis legalization advocates blame a law that went into effect last year that caused a steep drop of more than 15 thousand medical users. The law made it harder for people under 21 to get a medical card, and restricts how much marijuana patients can buy. A debate over altering the law is slated to for the state senate Thursday afternoon.

Medical marijuana advocacy group Americans For Safe Access said, “Colorado legislators and Governor Polis presided over the single worst rollback of medical cannabis” it has ever witnessed.

Marijuana sales across the state have also gone down, just like the number of patients. Perspectives on the slowdown vary. Supporters of the law see it as a sign that it’s slowing abuse, but opponents see it as evidence that it’s hindering access.

Clinic Operator Martha Montemayor runs clinics from Denver to Montrose to help people get their med cards. She says her organization has helped well over 15 thousand people join the medical marijuana registry over the past decade.

“We’ve had a very difficult year with patients losing access to products that were working well for them in the past,” says Martha Montemayor, a medical marijuana clinic operator. A new bill she supports would not change the age and amount restrictions, but would reverse the mandate for an in-person exam and a requirement for doctors to give patients more information about dosage, potency, and products.

However, the co-founder of an organization that helped get last year’s law passed doesn’t believe it’s stopping people from getting the care they need. Co-founder of One Chance To Grow Up Rache O’Bryan doesn’t want the changes Montemayor is proposing. “It is going to undo all the common sense protections put in place just two year ago,” said O’Bryan. “We put these rules in place to protect patients and to protect these teenagers who were getting it and sharing it.”