Colorado lawmakers back age limits for medical-pot users |

Colorado lawmakers back age limits for medical-pot users

Jessica Fender
The Denver Post

Two state senators vowed Sunday to restore age restrictions on young medical marijuana patients to a bill regulating the relationship between doctors and their pot-seeking patients.

Sens. Chris Romer and Nancy Spence want patients younger than 21 years old to first see a substance abuse counselor before getting a recommendation for medical pot from a doctor.

Doctors who override the counselor’s nonbinding recommendation would be reported to the medical board of examiners for review.

Throughout the medical-marijuana debate, advocates and lawmakers have batted down age restrictions based on constitutional language saying anyone 18 years old or older should have access to the medication with one referral from a doctor.

Romer, D-Denver, said Sunday that the additional steps for young patients would help flag those with a history of substance abuse and ensure that only the sickest teens get access to a drug while they’re still growing.

“We are talking about kids having the right to walk in every day and buy some of the most potent product (under current rules),” said Romer, one of the sponsors of Senate Bill 109.

Romer estimates there are about 2,000 people between the ages of 18 and 21 who carry medical marijuana cards. Through another pot bill, he also plans to ban dispensaries from advertising to teens and to bar young patients from dispensaries altogether.

Denver lawyer Rob Corry, who specializes in medical marijuana law, said the age restrictions would put an undue burden on young patients and would be unconstitutional.

“Debilitating medical conditions don’t know age limits,” Corry said. “I don’t see any burning reason to treat people in that small age bracket any differently.”

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