A Brighton chiropractor and two other people were arrested Saturday for distributing pot after police say 100 people gathered — and smoked — at a makeshift medical-marijuana dispensary.So the "doctor" needs to be located, charged criminally and stripped of his license to practice. Then this so-called "clinic" needs to be padlocked and/or seized. And every pothead who was identified as having been there needs to be put on a list of those who have abused the medical marijuana system and barred from getting it again unless and until they appear at a hearing and have a real doctor testify before a panel of other legitimate medical experts about the patient's actual need for weed.
The chiropractic office building on South Fourth Avenue in Brighton was set up as an "assembly line to give out marijuana prescriptions" — complete with a doctor and a caregiver, said Sgt. Jim Gearhardt of the North Metro Drug Task Force.
Patients were paying $100 each to get into the building, police said.
When police arrived, the prescribing doctor fled the scene. Officers smelled pot smoke and arrested a chiropractor and his wife, and the caretaker dispensing the pot. Police declined to give the names of those arrested until they finished the investigation.
Brighton has a ban on medical-marijuana dispensaries, Gearhardt said.
Police said they were trying to get a search warrant to determine whether there is any more marijuana in the office building.
"The state law allows distribution of marijuana for medical purposes," said Sgt. Scott Takahashi of the North Metro Task Force. "It appears every single person coming through the door here was getting pot."
Chiropractor Darrin Marchus co-owns the building where the arrests were made. He was seeing his chiropractic patients on Saturday morning when he heard the commotion outside.
"I was doing my normal day, seeing patients," he said. "And there were a bunch of people lining up and police lining up."
He said the chiropractor with whom he shares the building, Jeffrey Gappa, who runs Complete Care of Colorado, told him last week he was having a "meeting" Saturday.
"He said he was going to have a talk of some kind with some people," Marchus said. "He was very secretive about all of it."
Marchus said Gappa mentioned something about medical marijuana, and Marchus told him he didn't want any part of that in their shared office building.
Marchus is worried sick about how the drama will affect his business, Marchus Chiropractic, which he has built over 20 years in Brighton.
State lawmakers are crafting legislation that should provide clarity to the state's burgeoning medical-marijuana industry.
State Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, is working on a measure that would create more stringent rules on the relationship between patients and prescribing doctors.
The bill would require the doctor and patient to have a "bona fide" relationship in which the doctor provides the patient a full examination and follow-up care before a prescription.
Rob Corry, an attorney representing the interests of the medical-marijuana industry, said Saturday's arrests were timely.
"I am sure there is no coincidence whatsoever between the fact this comes to light at the moment the state legislature is thinking about debating this issue," he said.
And states that are considering legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes need to look at stories like this. They are becoming more and more common, especially when the average "medical marijuana" card-holder is now apt to be some twenty-something skateboarder who claims to have some injury that no one else can see instead of the poor cancer or glaucoma sufferer that we were all told this law was being passed to help.
And if we're going to treat marijuana as a legitimate medicine, let's at least start controlling it like one by establishing purity standards, licensing and regulating growers and dispensing it through actual pharmacies instead of letting any old Cheech or Chong set himself up in the business of selling it. As it stands now, the whole thing is just a joke and I'm all in favor of just going back to the day when weed was illegal and warranted a record and maybe some time in jail. We gave the potheads an inch based on their claims of legitimate use for a select few, and they abused it. So screw 'em; let's just go back to jailing the potheads until they learn to leave the stuff alone.