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Lathen: May-a culpa

During the Aug. 12 El Paso Board of County Commissioners meeting, Commissioner Amy Lathen e-mailed District Attorney Dan May around noon, shortly after his testimony, to say, "Extraordinarily well done. Thank you for your presentation." May had given a speech urging commissioners to add a medical marijuana center ban question to the November ballot.

Later that day, May wrote back,"Long day. Was a vote taken."

As we know, the vote wound up being postponed two weeks, so the commissioners could consider the question of "grandfathering" in existing MMCs. Angst over the delay was evident in Lathen's next-day response to May.

"Yesterday was exceedingly frustrating," she wrote. "I am very disappointed and personally apologize that I was unable to achieve a majority vote to get this on the ballot. It is by no means over however, and I will work aggressively within the next two weeks to deal with this grandfathering issue."

Lathen went on, issuing another mea culpa to close the missive.

"My sincere apologies for a frustrating and unproductive outcome — at least for the time being."

The e-mails, which come via a Colorado Open Records Act request the Independent filed with the county, raise one question: Why apologize to the district attorney?

"Because I didn't think that we needed to take up more staff time with it two weeks away," Lathen said in a phone conversation Tuesday. "We had already spent hours and hours and hours in deliberation, with our county staff really spending a great deal of time on the issue."

May was unavailable for comment. For her part, Lathen says the apology was business as usual.

"I also apologized to a couple of other people, again, because I felt like I could have made a better argument to get that thing moved along that day."

Hole lotta doubts

Dr. Scott Brassfield and Canna Caregivers (3220 N. Academy Blvd., #4, 597-6685) have been neighbors for roughly a year. After a weekend break-in at Brassfield's office by people who proceeded to bash a 3-foot hole into the MMC, the doctor says he and his office neighbors have had enough of the crime that he feels is drawn to its location.

"[The doctors] voted, and we feel that there have been very negative consequences from Canna Caregivers' presence," Brassfield says. "And on that basis, we asked the owner, who is a doctor, to revoke the lease of Canna Caregivers because of these infractions of our bylaws.

"And he refused to do so."

Though Brassfield declines to cite the owner's reasoning, he does say that he personally is not opposed to MMJ, having prescribed it for several of his cancer patients. He's still not convinced that the current industry is fully legitimate, however.

"Young males, that's mainly who's getting marijuana," he says. "And I watch them all day long going into Canna Caregivers, and they look darned healthy.

"Somehow we need to find a much more medical-controlled model. I really hope that the planning commission puts them in industrial zones, because we're having problems with these young, frequently male, slightly deranged, and sometimes really confused and bizarre people, showing up frequently right near medical offices that treat a lot of elderly people, and a lot of children, and I think it's a dangerous situation."

Calling in reinforcements

"I'm tired of my clients being treated like criminals, and I'm tired of the patients being treated as less than human."

So went a speech by attorney Charles Houghton at The Thirsty Parrot last Thursday, when the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council unveiled details of its pro-MMJ campaign, Citizens for Safer Communities (citizensforsafercommunities.org).

The campaign has brought in Michael Elliott, a veteran of several past initiatives, to execute a plan that will cost at least $350,000 in advertising, polls, signs, direct-mail marketing and more. In an effort to keep legal costs down, Houghton and attorney Laura Haynes have capped fees at $125,000. The council is taking donations toward that now.

Bud shake

• A note on Epona's Sanctuary's (eponassanctuary.com) website states Lindsey Adams' "femme and gay friendly" infused products company has gone out of business.

• A talk the Indy had last week with Ken Duncan (home.comcast.net/~kpduncan), in preparation for our Sept. 30 release of ReLeaf, reveals the mayoral candidate offers a friendly stance on MMJ.

"Quite honestly, I'm for medical marijuana," he said. "The biggest concern for me is the number of dispensaries popping up all over the place, because I don't want to cheapen the validity of its medicinal purposes.

"But the bottom line is that while I would like to see medical marijuana be nationwide, I don't want to cheapen it by just making it available to every Tom, Dick and Harry that says they've got pain."

• When contacted last week, Let Us Vote COS leader Steve Wind was as chatty as ever when asked about his campaign's signatures: "I'm not going to answer that question until we're ready to turn them in to the City Clerk [on Dec. 15]," Wind said. He also declined to release his fundraising totals.

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