Health & Human Services

Audit: Colorado Health Department's Handling of Medical Marijuana Faulted

State auditors examining the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's role as gatekeeper to medical marijuana use found lax regulation of physicians, unnecessarily high patient fees and a failure to oversee caregivers.
July 16, 2013

State auditors examining the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's role as gatekeeper to medical marijuana use found lax regulation of physicians, unnecessarily high patient fees and a failure to oversee caregivers.

An audit released Monday is the second rebuke in recent months of Colorado's efforts to oversee medical marijuana.

In March, auditors came down even harder on the Department of Revenue division charged with regulating medical pot businesses, finding wasteful spending and incomplete enforcement.

Oversight of medical marijuana in Colorado falls to two state agencies. The Marijuana Enforcement Division, part of the Department of Revenue, regulates dispensaries, grow locations and infused-products manufacturers. The health department is responsible for maintaining the patient registry, among other roles.

The registry is expected to shrink considerably once recreational pot shops open early next year, a consequence of voter-approved Amendment 64 last November. The numbers have begun to dwindle in recent months, with 105,886 patients as of May 31, down from 108,656 in January.

The audit Monday found evidence the health department does not sufficiently oversee doctors who give patients recommendations needed to get medical marijuana.

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