click to enlarge Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment Red cards — which aren’t red anymore — can be hard to renew. Lots of people find that it’s not easy to work with the government. That’s certainly been my experience, going through the state’s Medical Marijuana Registry, a division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE), for the eight years I’ve been a medical marijuana patient.
Maintaining my status with the state as a patient has required planning. MMJ cards, or red cards as they’re commonly known, are only good for one year, so I’ve had to think ahead, and schedule a medical exam well before my card’s expiration date.
That process has grown more complicated since the state switched to a difficult-to-navigate online renewal system. In the early days, patients applied for medical marijuana status on paper forms that needed to be filled out perfectly, including in the right color of ink. The process (which is still available) involved getting a money order for the state fee, cash for the doctor, and going to a post office to send the forms by certified mail (the procedure recommended by the companies that perform MMJ evaluations). Patients then waited four to six weeks for their card to arrive. If there was a problem, like incorrect information on the form, they started over again and waited another four to six weeks.
This “old school” approach was begging for an upgrade. And it would seem that the state’s new system — in which patients apply online, then print out their own cards from the website or download the pdf onto their phones — would fit the bill. Being a fairly computer literate person, I thought, “How hard can it be?”
Last September, when my expiration date was less than a month