Monday, February 22, 2016

Pueblo ranchers challenge judge's dismissal

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 12:05 PM

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Phyllis Windy Hope and Michael Reilly — the Pueblo County landowners who sued everyone imaginable trying to shut down both a neighboring indoor grow-op and Colorado’s entire legal marijuana industry — filed a notice of appeal challenging a judge’s dismissal last month of their case against public-sector defendants.

The suit, backed by D.C.-based anti-legalization group Safe Streets Alliance, claimed that the “criminal enterprise” next door was lowering their property value and emitting an offensive odor. They sought treble damages from a father-son pair of dispensary owners, the grow operator, a developer, an insurance company, a water supplier, Pueblo County's marijuana licensing board, county commissioners, the state Marijuana Enforcement Division, Department of Regulation and Gov. John Hickenlooper under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — a commonly misused federal law meant for prosecutors to go after mob bosses. Judge Robert Blackburn rejected the argument that county and state officials are violating the federal Controlled Substances Act by licensing, regulating and taxing Colorado’s voter-approved retail marijuana industry.

The appeal moves the case to the federal appeals court in Denver while the remaining case against the private-sector defendants remains open. Plaintiff attorney Brian Barnes says he won't share substantive details of the appeal until his team files an opening brief in a few weeks.

Read their entire complaints in this story at

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