Election Section

Medical-marijuana less popular than predicted

The Associated Press
Thursday December 13, 2001

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Fewer people than expected have signed up for the state’s medical-marijuana program. 

About 100 people applied to use the drug for medical purposes in the registry’s first six months. Officials had predicted 600 to 800 people would apply in the first year. 

The voter-approved measure took effect June 1 and allows patients who register with the state Department of Public Health and Environment to have a maximum of 2 ounces of marijuana, or six plants. 

Registry administrator Gail Kelsey said a similar registry in Oregon attracted more patients after the first six months as people became more familiar and comfortable with program. 

In Colorado, the medical condition most commonly reported by applicants has been severe pain. About 70 percent of applicants have been male. So far, three people were denied because their applications were incomplete, Kelsey said. 

Twenty-four counties are represented on the confidential registry, she said. 

Physician certification has come from 76 doctors. 

The medical-marijuana law is opposed by Gov. Bill Owens and Attorney General Ken Salazar. They have urged federal prosecutors to pursue anyone who sells, distributes or grows marijuana, even if they qualify for medical use under the state program.