Thursday, January 8, 2015

NOTES FROM THE NEW DRUG WAR - by Jessica LeRoux - Jan. 8, 2015 - FAILURE TO AUDIT

Hello Legislative Audit Committee,

I am hopeful that 2015 will be a more productive and accountable year for the Audit committee now that the cloud hanging over Steve King is no longer clouding your agenda. Some of you may remember that in 2013 there were audits of Both CDPHE and the MED. Both of these state agencies received an "F" on their audits. Under the leadership of King the Audit committee voted unanimously to re-audit both agencies in 2014 well prior to the end of the legislative session (the intent being to give fellow law makers the time needed to respond to the follow up audits with new laws and rules before the session would end in 2014). I was in attendance at the meeting where that vote was taken. Unfortunately the kerfuffle of removing myopic moron King from office for his massive corruption allowed these important follow up audits to slip through the cracks, as there is obviously still an ongoing issue at both agencies in regard to the facts that many of the key points made in the 2013 Audits HAVE NOT BEEN RESOLVED. Furthermore I feel a initial audit of the MED's METRC/MITS tracking system is direly needed. It is obvious to anybody who has used the tracking system that is is easily manipulated, and so far in 2014 the MED has not used METRC data to bring a single fine or violation against any cannabis industry licensee. I find the prospect of 100% compliance preposterous, not to mention that the MED have claimed that they would be relying on the revenue from fines to contribute to their budget.

I work as a consultant in cannabis businesses, and the flagrant lack of compliance I see in most of my clients' shops is alarming. One gentleman Ive tried to get straightened out had not filed a DAILY state required METRC report until mid-may (yet the state got sales tax from him monthly during this time) and has not filed the back reports for those 5 months either, yet the MED has never contacted him to inquire why the reports are missing, much less sent an agent to check the shop out. This is absurd. I don't feel the owner was diverting any cannabis in the case in question or doing anything terribly wrong other than not reporting, but certainly a 4.1 million dollar computer program in combination with a $80,000 a year salaried investigator, should be providing some response that is a better return on the state's investment in both! This is just one short anecdote I am using to illustrate the dozens of shortcomings I see in the METRC program in combination with the MED. It seems to provide a lot of pretty reassurances in the media but NO actual enforcement what so ever. In fact the general lack of visible involvement of MED in any of the many cases brought against CO cannabis violators is concerning is it not? A lack of MED accountability has lead to such widespread owner impunity that one young woman who held two legal licenses actually thought she would be successful in presenting MED agents blatantly forged License documents for additional unlicensed locations. It even took MED a while to catch her on it!
As far as the Audit of the CDPHE is concerned, it is very upsetting to me that some of you I am writing this very missive to, were party to the 2013 audit of CDPHE that clearly states the CDPHE is in violation of the constitution of the state of Colorado for overcharging patients to use the registry for over a decade and amassing roughly 10 Million in unconstitutional funds; yet some of you were also on the 2014 committee that passed SB155 to steal the money from patients. Whoa, did you even read the report you worked on? We all are bound by the constitution of the state, and you knew the money was improperly collected, but thought it would be a good idea for the state to steal it, thereby provoking a slam dunk lawsuit the state will be loosing soon? As a tax payer Im very disappointed that you would gamble with our finances to pay for a court case. Now we the people are on the hook to pay for the state's attorney for CDPHE, and for the court costs, as well as potential restitution regardless of the outcome, what a waste of money.

I make no bones about my extremely low opinion of Steve King, it predated his exposure for fraud! But now that he is gone I am expecting better of you all in 2015. Please do the audits you promised CO before a single one of you votes to give one more penny of funding to these "F" rated state agencies.

Thank You,
Jessica LeRoux


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