Colorado attorney general candidate Stan Garnett describes himself as "pretty outspoken about medical marijuana." This coming from the same individual who last year said, "Legalizing marijuana entirely would be the simplest way to resolve the tension between the Constitution and the criminal statutes."
The current Boulder County DA has certainly made his presence known. In an e-mail to the Boulder County Commissioners, he wrote: "Be assured that I have, and will continue, to spend as little as possible on [medical marijuana] cases ... regardless of the amount in [a suspect's] possession."
Essentially, it's the polar opposite to the approach of his opponent for state attorney general, incumbent John Suthers. During the debate over House Bill 1284, Suthers sent a letter to the Legislature citing unrelated-to-MMJ facts like, "If you are serious about wanting to reduce the dropout rate, you should not ignore its correlation with adolescent marijuana use."
"One of the differences between me and John Suthers is, I think John spent way too much time as attorney general going over to the Legislature lobbying it about medical marijuana," Garnett says in a phone conversation with the Indy. "We all have so many more criminal issues we have to focus on, that to spend a lot of time on medical marijuana to me seems a waste. But, you know, everybody has to make their own decisions."
About recent legislation, Garnett, 54, says that Senate Bill 109 appropriately "tightened" the relationship between physicians and patients, but that House Bill 1284 was a waste.
"I don't know that that accomplishes a whole lot more than simply empowering local governments to manage dispensaries would accomplish," he says. "I think the verdict's kind of out on that.
"What you've got to do is respect the fact that different communities are going to want to manage medical marijuana dispensaries differently, just like different communities manage other land-use issues: liquor stores, pawn shops, payday lending business, that sort of thing," he says. "I'm not totally convinced that having a state agency, which is set up by the House bill, is going to advance the ball all that much."
'Huge battle' coming
In the wake of last week's El Paso County Board of Commissioners' decision to put a ban question on the ballot, an e-mail from the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council shows the advocacy group gearing up for a fight.
"As we move forward toward November, we have a huge battle with the question of banning centers and related facilities on the ballot. We will be meeting this week with our legal advisors and getting together our legal options," wrote president Tanya Garduno on Monday. "We will also get the details necessary to start a legal defense fund that will assist in paying for the legal fight ahead.
"In addition to the legal portion, we need to develop our campaign strategy for combatting this question. We are looking for volunteers for our newly formed Campaign Strategy Committee that will create and execute our plan of attack on this initiative."
Garduno says a meeting at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 9, at the Thirsty Parrot (32 S. Tejon St., thirstyparrot.net) will relate the details of the Council's plan to anyone "who values safe patient access."
• It's not easy being the opposition, says state Rep. Mark Waller, who appeared at a Republican event last week at Valley Hi Golf Course. The event was also attended by a few medical marijuana proponents, whom Waller suspects of giving his car a dressing down.
"I stayed, answered everybody's questions, spoke to everybody, tried to be as gracious as possible," Waller says, "and my reward for that was walking out to my car when it's all said and done, [and] somebody had smeared ranch dressing all over my car."
• A group of 10 mothers has formed Parents Advocating for our Community and Teens (PACT) to protest Grand Junction's medical marijuana centers, and the effects the group believes they have on the community's youth.
"It's like it becomes their identity. It becomes normal," said one mother to The Daily Sentinel. "For me, a pot shop on every corner is not the normalcy that I want to see for Grand Junction."
• Around 2 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 29, two suspects broke into a house in Fort Morgan, a small town in northeastern Colorado, and allegedly struck one of the residents in the course of a robbery. The weapon? A glass bong.
Though the victim was hospitalized, he was subsequently released. Items valued at $2,000 were taken, including medical marijuana and cash.
Lt. Jared Crone of the Fort Morgan Police Department told Denver's Westword that the home invasion was the first of its type in the small town, and that he's not seen any additional crime due to the presence of medical marijuana in the community.
• In a Tuesday news release, the Cannabis Therapy Institute offered details of the Department of Revenue's 92 pages of potential rules for the MMJ industry.
Among them are a video surveillance system that will record "every transaction and processing step from seed to sale, inside and outside." Check out IndyBlog for more.
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