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  1. chillinwill
    Medical marijuana patients have a constitutional right to buy pot, not just use it, according to ruling Wednesday by a judge.

    Arapahoe County District Court Judge Christopher Cross sided with the CannaMart dispensary, which sued the city of Centennial after it was shut down in October.

    Cross granted the dispensary's request for an injunction, which will prevent the city from keeping the dispensary closed while CannaMart challenges the city's argument that it can ban pot shops because they violated federal drug laws.

    Colorado in 2000 passed a constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana, which is now allowed in 14 states. Recent decisions by state health authorities, along with a signal this year from the U.S. attorney general that federal prosecutors won't interfere with state pot rules, have led to an explosion of commercial marijuana stores across Colorado.

    In the oral ruling, the judge had sharp words for cities that say federal drug laws allow them to keep out any dispensaries. Cross said the city violated the rights of three medical marijuana patients who joined the lawsuit.

    "These are people who have a right to medical marijuana, the right to the caregiver of their choice. That has been taken away from them," Cross said.

    CannaMart's owner, Stan Zislis, said after the decision that he wasn't sure if he would reopen the shop in Centennial. Zislis has opened a new CannaMart in the nearby suburb of Littleton.

    The judge's decision left unresolved a zoning dispute between Centennial and CannaMart, which had about 600 clients at the time it was closed. The city also has passed a moratorium on new dispensaries, so CannaMart cannot move and reopen elsewhere in Centennial.

    Lauren Davis, a lawyer for CannaMart, said the judge's words "should be a warning to towns across this state" that are considering whether to ban dispensaries. Another town south of Denver, Castle Rock, has also cited federal drug laws in forcing a dispensary there to stop selling marijuana.

    "They are violating the rights of sick patients and caregivers," Davis said.

    One of the patients who sued, Eric Mosher, said CannaMart's closure made it difficult for him to obtain medical marijuana recommended for a debilitating nerve ailment.

    "It's hard enough to be in the situation I'm in," Mosher said after the ruling.

    Centennial's lawyer, Robert Widner, said it was too soon to say how city officials would proceed.

    The judge scheduled further legal discussion in the case for next year. He concluded by saying that cities wanting to get rid of all dispensaries could find themselves violating constitutional rights.

    Even though federal laws ban the sale of marijuana, Cross said, "The voters have spoken. It is not a criminal act in the state of Colorado."

    December 31, 2009
    Chicago Tribune


  1. SWIMclub
    CO Court Upholds Right To Dispense Medical MJ

    An appeals court has upheld the right of the individual to both use and purchase medical MJ within the state of Colorado. This judgment pertains to a case in which the Centennial city council made a rule prohibiting dispensaries and shut down an existing Medical MJ supplier operating with a business license.

    The judge determined that the city's argument (that it is illegal at a Federal level) is invalid, because the Feds are the only ones who are to be enforcing Federal laws, not the city. The judge also stated that the place is a de-facto pharmacy. The business remains closed though. The city council may next attempt to claim that the business is in a location which is not zoned for pharmacies. They have also issued a moratorium on new business licenses for Medical MJ (which one supposes they can do.)

    Centennial doesn't seem to care what Colorado voters passed in a direct ballot. They will use whatever tactics they can come up with in order to twart the will of the People. The local prosecutor has gone so far as to say that she will check on those who testified about Medical MJ use and decide if they should be prosecuted.

    Breckenridge, CO, became the first city to specifically legalize possession of cannabis (for personal recreational use) within their jurisdiction.

    The governor of Colorado has already announced that it is a legitimate and tangible possession, and that they plan to charge tax on medical MJ. But prescription drugs are not taxable within Colorado.

    What becomes clear is that it's going to be a while before these two confounding and opposing views become reconciled. Meanwhile, there's a very confused Moderate's position which agrees that taxation would be beneficial AND that Medical MJ (and other aspects of legalization) are favorable.

    While this debate continues to rage, Colorado is notably quiet about some of the other herbals being offered. Perhaps this reflects the overall fact that the People don't want such things criminalized, but it leaves SWIM wondering if the stuff is safe to inhale. Of course, there is always the same potential for lacing in cannabis...

    It would seem that Colorado may be at least as liberal as California -- at the outset -- but upon further inspection, Colorado's conflict extends to law enforcement and prosecutors, against such figures as the Governor and the voted will of the People themselves. Though people with Medical MJ cards have been arrested and subsequently released with apologies, caution remains advised. The struggle is far from over in the Rocky Mountain state.
  2. chillinwill
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