Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

What Is The State Smoking?

The Denver Post

On good days, Jason Young walks with a cane or uses a wheelchair. On bad ones, he can't get out of bed.

"The pain overwhelms me without something to take care of it," says the 33-year-old multiple sclerosis patient from Denver.

At first, he treated his muscle spasms with prescribed Percocet, which made him drool. Then he switched to Vicodin, which made him dumb.

Finally, Young turned to a different treatment — daily fixes of high-grade marijuana. Now he's having more good days than bad.

"The law works," he says. "The state is trying to fix a policy that isn't broken."

Young is one of 7,630 Coloradans registered under a voter-approved law legalizing marijuana for people with medical problems. The state doesn't track the number of so-called caregivers designated to grow and dispense the "medicine."

(Turns out that terms like "dealer" and "pot" are frowned upon by health officials.)

The caregiving business has boomed since Barack Obama signaled that his administration won't prosecute medical users or suppliers who follow state laws. Some 30 dispensaries have opened in Colorado since he took office.

One of the busiest is Patients' Choice on South Broadway, offering 18 organic strains to take the edge off everything from broken bones to nausea. Its "A-Train" herb offers a peppy buzz that's light on the lungs. I'm told. And "Maui Wowie" promises sleep for insomniacs.

Young is partial to a prescribed blend of "Endless Sky" and "Island

Sweet Skunk," and to orange-flavor hashish lollipops that ease pain smoke-free.

Co-owner Jim Bent claims his shop has 300 customers; he and partners opened it in February.

To keep business budding, he and fellow caregivers are rallying against a proposed policy to limit their clientele to only five patients per provider. The reforms also would redefine "caregiver" to mean someone who also cooks, cleans or gives rides to sick users.

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