Colorado AG: No medical pot law changes

June 30, 2005

Associated Press, Rocky Mountain News

Colorado's medical marijuana program will not change under a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that such programs do not shield people from federal prosecution, Attorney General John Suthers said Thursday.

However, people in the program will be warned that they could be prosecuted, he said. 

The state health department, which administers the program, is trying to determine how best to warn new registrants and the 676 people already approved for medicinal marijuana use about the possibility of federal prosecution, spokeswoman Cindy Parmenter said.

Colorado voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2000 allowing people with certain medical conditions to use and grow marijuana with a doctor's approval. Nine other states have similar programs.

In a June 6 ruling in a California case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people who can use marijuana legally for medicinal purposes under state laws can still be prosecuted under federal drug laws. The ruling did not overturn state laws.

At the time of the ruling, Suthers said federal law agencies don't have the resources to focus on people who abide by the restrictions of the state's medical marijuana law.

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