The real controversy inside the Denver Medical Marijuana (Denver MMJ) world lies deeper within headlines than whether or not the dispensary is near a liquor store or a pawn shop. The real issue is whether or not you as an individual patient need to designate a caregiver. Those resisting Medical Marijuana will cling to attempts to limit numbers or locations of dispensaries in one community, but now that dispensaries are here, we need to figure out the best way to use them. This includes deciding on if and who should designate caregivers.
Not too long ago, the only concern for a medical marijuana patient was whether or not getting the license was worth it. The dispensaries were not abundant and they were certainly not any cheaper than obtaining medicine on the black market. The growth of the industry through the expansion of legal medical marijuana dispensaries and the increased number of patients licensed has necessitated competition which causes our controversy.
Now that everyone is licensed to possess, the next question is where to get it. Enter the caregiver controversy. Along with the patient license from prescription, the patient has the right to grow a modest amount of marijuana or designate another as “caregiver”. The caregiver is now the legal cultivator. Caregivers range from individuals providing terminal care as a medical aide, to store front businesses with ads in local magazines. This oversimplification is how the dispensary world was formed. One person garners several caregiver permit designations and… Bam! That one person now has enough marijuana to start your dispensary. The care-giver can now sell off the extra medicine to walk-in patients in dispensaries.
Many dispensaries offer varying deals if you are willing to designate them as caregiver. Some offer a constant discount for the duration of the caregiver designation (the license only lasts one year). Some offer free product on a one time basis. Anyone can remain a “walk-in” and never name the care-giver for their permit. I admit to falling victim to convenience. I haven’t designated anyone as my caregiver. Although it is fiscally responsible to designate a caregiver, I don’t want to be obligated to just one dispensary. I want to engage in the culture.
Someday soon, I may turn to a single dispensary near my home, much like I have a pharmacy or grocer, but that is once the glitter wears off. For now, I am happy still navigating and investigating the best people in the best location with the best deals.