Friday, July 26, 2013

UPDATE: Challenge coming for Colorado Springs marijuana ban

Posted By on Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 6:36 PM

UPDATE: Colorado Springs City Council's 5 to 4 vote to end the possibility of recreational-marijuana stores in the city upended retired criminal-defense attorney Dennis Sladek's plans to open one. Thus, he's suing the city of Colorado Springs, City Council and Mayor Steve Bach in district court in an attempt to have the overall ability for any municipality to ban such facilities, declared unconstitutional.

The wording in Amendment 64 "is a denial of due process," Sladek says in a phone interview with the Indy, "because they're taking away my constitutionally protected right to operate a business. It's a property right, it's a liberty interest, and they're taking that away without the right to have a hearing, and go forward with that, and that's why I brought this action."

So, since the lawsuit's aimed at the statute itself, a successful suit would ultimately eliminate municipality bans across the state, right?

"Let's put it this way: It would certainly lay a nice framework for people to go forward with it," says the 70-year-old, who also owns a golf-products company.

"I'm not trying to create the proverbial head shop. It has to be regulated, it has to be taxed, it has to be controlled, everything, across the board, it has to be done right," he says. "And I'm looking at it from an economic standpoint: Look at the revenue that the city can garner by doing it. And that's what's so ridiculous: Bach wants to go ahead and spend money to build a baseball stadium downtown, and here we have an opportunity to create a tremendous amount of revenue."

As far as reasons like those cited by City Councilor Val Snider: "Their argument about kids and everything is the biggest pile of crap I've ever heard: Kids today can get their hands on anything they want."

And when it comes to what kind of shot the suit has, 22 years of local practice have taught Sladek one thing, he says. "There's no way you can predict how something is gonna turn out. The only thing you can do is go forward, and put your best shot at it. I mean, I've seen instances on appeals where you're looking at an appeal, like, 'Oh yeah, this is a slam dunk,' and they rule against you. There's no rhyme or reason. If you don't try, you can't win."

And since John Ingold at the Denver Post reported yesterday that nine of the 10 largest cities in the state have banned RMJ stores, Sladek will symbolically be taking them all on. Worried about the time it might all take, though?

"I don't mind," he says. "I don't mind — it's fun."

Plus: "I don't know what Bach is trying to prove, but with this thing, when you go telling the City Council, 'If you vote this way, I'm gonna veto it,' who the hell are you, you know?"

Amendment 64 lawsuit against the city of Colorado Springs

——- ORIGINAL POST, 4:18 P.M., FRIDAY, July 26, 2013 ———

We have the barest of information at the moment, but we've spoken with local attorney Dennis Sladek who says he is filing a legal complaint this afternoon in regard to Colorado Springs City Council's decision to opt out of allowing recreational-marijuana stores.

We're scheduled to speak with Sladek later today and will update this post.

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