Coming Soon to a State Near You: Marijuana Tracking?

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REUTERS/Nir Elias

Call it legal, with a government lens.

For the past 10 years, medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado. With a growing number of dispensaries in operation, the state now faces a fear that has less to do with treatment and more to do with crime.

As qualms percolate surrounding the propensity for abuse by both dealers and users, the Centennial State is aiming to set up a tracking system that prevents black-market mayhem from infiltrating its local communities. The AP reports that the move would institute “basic protections,” from surveillance cameras to computer technology with sensors for multiple transactions. More advanced ideas in the works include biometric fingerprint scans to match prescription cards, as well as photographic records of driver’s licenses at the time of a marijuana purchase. (See pictures of cannabis culture.)

Some patients contest that their medical marijuana needs vary from day to day, diminishing the government’s right to arrogate oversight. But Matt Cook, the Colorado Department of Revenue’s senior director for medical marijuana, views the screening process as a paramount civil aid.

“It’s akin to the protections that are in place for pharmacies, or a wagering line at a horse or dog track,” Cook told the wire service. “You need to maintain the public confidence in what is going on, and the only way to do that is through these systems.”

As for whether Colorado’s pilot plan could be considered in other areas, the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana laws notes that 14 states currently permit the presence of medical marijuana. More may be added to that list come this November’s midterm elections.

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