Due to the ever-increasing numbers of applications, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment has changed the way it will receive dropped-off applications at its Denver offices.

Medical marijuana applications must now be in sealed envelopes. Clerks will no longer provide receipts or review applications at the time they are dropped off.

That’s because they simply don’t have time, officials said.

The number of applications has grown from 270 in August 2009 to 1,000 last month. The turn-around time for applications is reaching six months, said health department spokesman Mark Salley.

“The new processing procedures are the best means we have for serving all medical marijuana registry applicants,” said Bob O’Doherty, director of the Center for Health and Environmental Information and Statistics.

The department received more money from the state legislature for this fiscal year, and has added staff to help process the applications. The department is also asking to hire more people permanently to process the large volume of medical marijuana applications that continue to add to the backlog. The new staff could start in July, if the legislature approves. D

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The department also said that registry applicants cannot use copiers at the health department, and notary services are not available.

Applicants are encouraged to mail their applications to CDPHE Vital Records, 4300 Cherry Creek Dr. S., Denver, Colo. 80246.

Salley said dropping off an application in person will not speed up the process.