San Juan The Pro Cannabis Patients Alliance Inc. complained Monday that proposed medical marijuana regulations discriminate against patients, hinder the participation of small businesses and promote a monopoly in the sale of the product.
The alliance testified on the first day of public hearings at the Health Department on Regulation 8766, which repealed regulations originally adopted in December.
The organization, which was represented at the hearing by its president, María Cruz Acevedo, and other members, including José Joel Ortiz, the Rev. Gregorio Ruiz Moreno and Juan Capella Noya, called for amendments to correct what they consider flaws in three key areas.
Cruz Acevedo said regulations that ban patients from medicating with cannabis in public places or at work are a form of discrimination.
It is a contradiction that the regulation legalizes the medicinal use of cannabis, but treats patients as if they were consuming something illegal, like criminals. You have to hide to medicate, people are only allowed to medicate in the privacy of their homes.
No one should have to hide to medicate. No one should be arrested for medicating, employers must not be allowed to interfere. This should be treated like any other medicine, the Alliance said in a statement.
The group was referring to Article 18, which prohibits medicating in public, private or commercial places without authorization from the state or the propertys owner.
The organization also said it was a contradiction that the regulations allow employers to prohibit workers from medicating at work.
The group suggested amending the regulation to model Article 7.03 of the Transit Law, which allows people undergoing medical treatment to drive or work as long as the treatment does not interfere with their performance.
The alliance also said the regulations also limit doctors discretion when prescribing medical cannabis. The regulations limit treatment for only a few conditions, such as cancer.
The organization says doctors should be allowed to prescribe medical cannabis for any other condition that, according to their professional judgment, they understand can be treated or alleviated with medicinal cannabis.
The regulations contain a series of costs and requirements that will make it easier for pharmaceutical companies to join the market and hinder the participation of small businesses, which would reduce the diversity in prices and products, the alliance added.
The new regulations also increase licensing costs, in some cases 15 times the original regulations approved in December.
A license for distribution rose from $5,000 to $75,000, and renewing the license will cost $50,000, up from $5,000.
The new regulations, the alliance said, will have the effect of restricting the market because small businesses will have difficulty competing with big business, especially the pharmaceutical industry.
News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Pro Cannabis Patients Alliance – Regulations Are Inconsistent And Contradictory
Author: Eva Llorens Velez
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