Below is an expanded version of the conversation we had with attorney Cliff Black, detailed in this week's "CannaBiz."
Black's law firm is defending three medical marijuana growers who were raided in May, as well as a several other individuals from separate incidents.
ON THE UPCOMING ELECTION:
"To me, it is very interesting that, here we have this vote coming up in November, and our district attorney Dan May was talking about how much crime the dispensaries are involved in, and how much crime they create. And then we had the chief of police saying, 'Well, we don’t really have statistics showing that they increase crime.'
"So I have a suspicion that the reason why they’re doing all these Beacon Street arrests now is to possibly up the statistics. I think it's going to be interesting to see if the number of arrests are publicized right before the vote."
ON THE PROBLEM WITH THE SYSTEM:
"All of my clients have great defenses in these cases. I think they were doing everything they could to comply with the spirit of the law. The problem is that you have one state agency — the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment — that by the constitutional amendment they are supposed to approve or deny these applications within 30 days and notify that patient of the approval or denial, and when they’re approved they get that red card that provides the criminal exception."
"So you now you have the Department of Health that's not getting these to people for eight months — seven months beyond their time limit. And now you have another state agency — the district attorney's office — who's prosecuting them. If the Department of Health had done their job and gotten the red cards to the patients in a timely fashion, allowing the patients to get a copy of that card to their caregiver, then these caregivers would have had proof that they were patients, and they were registered and they were approved."
ON HIS CLIENTS' DEFENSE:
"We do have paperwork. The paperwork is not ... perfect paperwork, I guess I would say. If somebody had done their paperwork 100 percent correct, they would have the patient application, they would have a second page, the physician certification, and they would have proof of mailing of those two documents to the Department of Health. But these people were jumping in to business, so a lot of times they didn’t gather all that documentation."