Medical marijuana advocates cropping up on Western Slope

Original Article By Pete Fowler Glenwood Post Indenpendent pfowler@postindependent.com Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado Original Link http://www.postindependent.com/article/20090308/VALLEYNEWS/903079987/108... GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado — Medical marijuana seems to be growing on the Western Slope. A Grand Junction man plans to set up a storefront for a medical marijuana dispensary soon, and the THC Foundation of Denver has said it sees enough demand on the Western Slope that it wants to establish a permanent facility in Glenwood Springs or somewhere nearby in the future to help people obtain medical marijuana permits. Gregg Davis, of Grand Junction, plans to establish a full-service medical marijuana dispensary in Grand Junction in June. William Hewitt, of Montrose, also reportedly has plans to open a dispensary instead of operating out of his home. “What we’re wanting to offer is something so THC patients know they have a place to come and they’re safe,” Davis said. Davis said he’s meeting with the city attorney and is still working on getting a location. “It might be downtown. It may even be next to the police department,” he said. The dispensary would be called “The Therapuetic Herbal Cure.” Davis is considering having the dispensary offer a variety of services such as massage. He said many people who have medical marijuana permits are over 60 and suffer from chronic pain. “When you talk to some of these people it almost makes you want to cry,” he said. As of Jan. 31, there were 37 people in Garfield County with medical marijuana permits, 6 in Pitkin County, and 133 in Mesa County. About 5,051 people have active, valid medical marijuana permits in Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. That’s about twice what it was a year ago. Davis said there are 309 patients with permits in Garfield, Mesa, Delta, Montrose, and Gunnison counties combined. Davis became interested in medical marijuana and got a permit in 2006 after suffering a head injury. He said he was in a coma for over 2 months and had to have brackets and plates put in his head. He said he’s been growing medical marijuana for the past two years and took classes through the Cannabis University of Denver. The THC Foundation of Denver also sees demand for medical marijuana on the Western Slope. It held its first clinic in Glenwood Springs late last year. The foundation, which helps eligible patients obtain medical marijuana permits, does a remote clinic whenever there’s enough people requesting one. A spokesman for the foundation said there must be a minimum of around 35 people attending a clinic to cover the expenses of bringing a doctor out to a remote location and conducting the clinic. It costs over $3,000 to take a doctor to a remote clinic and meet with people. Patients must forward their medical records to the foundation, pass an initial screening, then visit with one the doctors and get a signature on an application for a medical marijuana permit. The THC Foundation believes there is enough demand to eventually establish a permanent facility in the area, but that would probably be a few years down the road. Colorado’s Amendment 20 allows people to receive medical marijuana cards for certain diseases and chronic pain, but it’s still illegal under federal law. Davis said Colorado is considering limiting the number of medical marijuana users one caregiver can grow marijuana for to five, which would make it tough to keep enough marijuana for patients. He encourages medical marijuana supporters to attend a rally at noon on March 18 at Denver City Hall to oppose the proposed limitations. Contact Davis at 970-623-1669 or gregg_thcwithtlc@yahoo.com, or contact the THC Foundation at 303-403-9996 for more information.