Doc questions true need for some marijuana patients |

Doc questions true need for some marijuana patients

CARBONDALE, Colorado – A local, longtime family practitioner who served on Carbondale’s medical marijuana advisory group admits he entered the process with some skepticism.

But, the diverse make-up of the group did lead to some reasonable recommendations to help control the burgeoning industry locally, Dr. Rick Herrington, a founding partner in Roaring Fork Family Physicians, offered before the Carbondale Board of Trustees Tuesday night.

“I really felt that both sides of the issue were represented on the committee,” he said.

Still, Herrington said he does question the legitimate need of some medical marijuana patients in Colorado to continue using the drug for their ailments.

“I think there is a sincere intent to help people who can truly benefit [from the medical use of marijuana],” he said.

But, “Are there that many sick people in Carbondale? I don’t think so,” Herrington said when asked by Trustee John Foulkrod if Carbondale has enough demand to support 12 or more medical marijuana dispensaries.

Herrington said he’s personally only had one patient who he felt was appropriate to give the necessary medical authorization to register with the state of Colorado to receive medical marijuana.

The problem, unlike with controlled prescription drugs, is that there’s no follow-up control for medical doctors to track a marijuana patient’s progress until their certification card expires after 12 months, he added.

Herrington noted reading that some 80 percent of the medical marijuana authorizations given in Colorado came from just five doctors.

“I think you’ll see that the number of cards renewed will go down,” he said, especially given the new stringent doctor-patient requirements contained in the state law that went into effect this month.

Local dispensary owners who worked with Carbondale’s advisory group countered that their operations are serving a legitimate need in the community.

“I would encourage you to stay proactive on this,” Ric Costaldo, who operates the Green Miracle Medicinals center on Main Street, said. “In the six-and-a-half months we’ve been open, we have seen people be able to get off their prescriptions for heavier prescription painkillers. It isn’t malarkey, there is a beneficial aspect to it.”

Added Chris Busley of the Colorado Mountain Dispensary (C.M.D.), “Anyone who has been in these centers will see that people are being helped, and people are getting off of painkillers that aren’t maybe as healthy.”

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