Medical Marijuana

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Want to make marijuana policy? City seeks volunteers for working group

Posted By on Tue, Dec 13, 2016 at 1:00 AM


Seats need a-fillin' on the city's Medical Marijuana Working Group created early this year to "study, review, evaluate and develop recommendations related to the regulation of marijuana within the City of Colorado Springs." They're the seats once occupied by Charles Houghton, a local marijuana attorney who stepped down because of scheduling conflicts, and Rebecca Lockwood, a caregiver to sick children on medical marijuana oils who gave up her seat so she can sue the city over residential growing limits. That lawsuit will be filed soon, she says, once her son's paperwork is in order.

As we've reported in CannaBiz, there've been concerns about the lack of actual patients and their advocates in this group which has produced some policies — like the plant count limit and moratorium renewal — that rub the cannabis community the wrong way. So, here's the chance to live up to the old adage "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"

From the city's press release on the matter: "Current vacancies include positions representing the medical marijuana industry and medical marijuana caregivers, and City Council is also interested in applicants with experience as medical marijuana patients and as experienced professionals in areas relating to medical marijuana, i.e. attorneys, medical professionals, or educators."

Obligations include meeting once-a-month for two hours, listening to presentations on various marijuana-related topics and discussing possible changes to city code. Interested parties should send a letter of interest and resume outlining relevant experience to Eileen Gonzalez either by email to or by snail mail to City Council; P.O. Box 1575; Colorado Springs, CO 80901. Questions? Call 719-385-5452.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Rep. Blumenauer responds to petition to fire DEA chief

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2015 at 11:48 AM

On Monday, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) responded to a petition to remove Acting DEA Chief Chuck Rosenberg (see CannaBiz, 11/18) in response to Rosenberg describing medical marijuana as "a joke."

Representative Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon - OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL PORTRAIT
  • Official Congressional Portrait
  • Representative Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon
Blumenauer's response supports the petition and its 143,862-and-counting signers. He and six colleagues have asked President Barack Obama to find "new DEA leadership that reflects the realities surrounding the status and perspectives about medical marijuana in the states, public opinion, research, and even the Administration."
Read Blumenauer's response in full below:
Dec 14, 2015 — There’s a revolution taking place across America to reform and modernize our marijuana laws, and no change is more profound than the treatment of medical marijuana. The reforms taking place are the result of the grassroots nature of this movement – including efforts by hundreds of thousands of people like you who signed this petition.

Over the last 20 years – despite the misguided federal prohibition of marijuana – we‘ve seen overwhelming evidence of the benefits of medical marijuana. The success of marijuana in offering relief for patients dealing with symptoms associated with chemotherapy, glaucoma, PTSD, chronic pain, and more has led 23 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam to change their laws and fully legalize medical marijuana. An additional 17 states have approved more limited programs. Well over one million people now use medical marijuana in accordance with their state’s law.

It’s outrageous that the Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) would trivialize these important programs and experiences. Chuck Rosenberg’s comments, calling medical marijuana “a joke,” are out of step with growing scientific evidence and the experience and opinion of the American people. He also ignores reforms happening across the nation – and the President, who long ago directed his Administration to stay out of the way of states’ legalization efforts.

These statements are also deeply hypocritical. While there are important questions that still need to be answered about medical marijuana, the research that would provide those answers is often blocked by federal policy barriers – supported by the DEA.

It’s time to reject the outdated War on Drugs that Mr. Rosenberg represents through his comments. This is why I, along with six of my colleagues, recently sent a letter to President Obama echoing your concerns and calling for new DEA leadership that reflects the realities surrounding the status and perspectives about medical marijuana in the states, public opinion, research, and even the Administration. As the momentum continues to grow on medical marijuana, and broader marijuana reform, the federal government must catch up. I’m working hard in Congress to treat state-legal marijuana businesses fairly, to ensure better access to medical marijuana for veterans, to expand medical marijuana research, and ultimately, to tax and regulate marijuana at the federal level.

Thank you to everyone who signed this petition. It is because of your efforts and the incredible shifts in public opinion that we have made so much progress in reforming the treatment of marijuana in the states. I will continue pressing federal agencies and Congress to follow that leadership.

Earl Blumenauer
Member of Congress
To read the original text of the petition, go to
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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Memorial Hospital to allow cannabis oil

Posted By on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 1:22 PM

  • File photo
This morning, Memorial Hospital released its new policy concerning allowing parents to continue treating their children with cannabis oil while under the organization's care.

As the Gazette writes, "The issue arose after Memorial Hospital took over all pediatric operations from Children's Hospital Colorado ... [It] had often allowed parents to administer the oils in its ward at Memorial Hospital Central ... But Memorial Hospital had no such policy ..."

It does now, as iterated in an email from parent company University of Colorado Health to the Independent
Memorial Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado are working together to provide the very best and safest care for all children who come to Memorial.

Memorial Hospital has approved a new policy to allow parents who currently administer CBD oil to a child suffering from seizures to continue administering the oil while that child is admitted at the hospital and under the care of a pediatric neurologist. Parents must understand that there are risks involved with giving patients CBD oil and must sign a release in order to continue this therapy while in the hospital. Nurses and physicians will not administer it themselves. Memorial Hospital may reevaluate this policy as circumstances and clinical research develop.

Memorial Hospital believes additional research is critically important to determine the benefits and potential side effects of cannabinoid oil. We will continue working with Children’s Hospital Colorado to monitor any research on the safety and efficacy of the oil and will assess our policies accordingly.

Memorial Hospital’s health care providers will continue to offer the very best care to all patients.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

DEA agent cites stoned rabbits as concern for Utah’s medical marijuana bill

Posted By on Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 5:00 PM

  • Shutterstock
As our neighbors in Utah consider a bill to allow medical marijuana to be used in edible form, the Senate panel heard a pretty curious testimony from DEA special agent Matt Fairbanks.

“I come to represent the actual science,” Fairbanks says at the beginning of his testimony, posted online by The Washington Post, “I stand behind the information that is presented by our researchers and scientists that look out for the public’s good.”

He names several anti-marijuana associations before reiterating that he “deal[s] in facts” and before citing his concern about the bill’s language regarding growing the marijuana. That’s when the testimony gets interesting.

“The deforestation has left marijuana grows with even rabbits that had cultivated a taste for the marijuana,” Fairbanks says (3:42). ”One of ‘em refused to leave us and we took all the marijuana around him but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone.”

That’s right, even rabbits.

As if that’s a statement not worth elaborating on, Fairbanks doesn’t offer anymore more details on the stoned rabbit problem, continuing on to the possibly unforeseen costs of enforcement and land protection if the bill passes. His concerns come after 10 years of working in the state, and as a part of Utah’s Marijuana Eradication Team.

“I spend time up on those mountains protecting our environment,” Fairbanks says. “Personally, I’ve seen entire mountainsides subjected to pesticides, harmful chemicals and deforestation.”

In fairness, Fairbanks doesn’t take a stand against the bill, saying only that it should be “looked at” by a state interim committee. Surely then they’ll recognize that licensed medical marijuana grows don’t result in anymore deforestation than any other form of development, and that a couple stoned rabbits shouldn’t keep patients from some relief.

Just ask Sugar Bob, a Colorado Oregon MMJ farm deer.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

2014: The year in (and of) cannabis

Posted By on Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 1:04 PM


To recap one of the more expansive years in the history of American marijuana, the Washington, D.C.-based National Cannabis Industry Association put together a Top 6 list of developments in 2014.

“There’s no superlative that could adequately describe the impact that 2014 has had on the cannabis industry,” says NCIA executive director Aaron Smith in a press release. “The success of adult-use legalization in Colorado and Washington, the overwhelming public opinion in favor of medical marijuana, and the steady march of policy change at both the state and federal levels have created an entirely new world."
1. Legal adult-use sales begin in Colorado.

2014 kicked off with a bang with the historic opening of legal sales in Colorado. Under a tremendous media spotlight, the rollout was a remarkably smooth success. More than $573M in legal marijuana sales and $60M in state tax and fee revenue later*, the Colorado industry is proving that a legal, regulated market not only works, but works well. Crime is down. Tourism is up. Funds are rolling into Colorado schools and long overdue medical marijuana research. And perhaps just as importantly, when concerns do arise, a regulated market provides an opportunity to address those concerns.

*Revenue figures cover January through October, as November and December sales data are not yet available.

2. Federal officials release banking guidelines for serving the legal cannabis industry.

In February, officials with the Departments of Justice and Treasury released memos intended to provide guidance for financial institutions interested in providing banking for legal cannabis industry businesses. While the ultimate outcome of the memos was muted, and most cannabis businesses are still denied basic banking services, the memos nonetheless served as potent message that federal authorities recognized the banking crisis in the industry and were seeking solutions.

3. Congress passes the first-ever pro-marijuana provisions at the federal level.

In May, the Republican-majority House of Representatives easily passed two appropriations amendments designed to protect state-sanctioned marijuana businesses. One of those — the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment prohibiting the use of Department of Justice funds to interfere with legal medical marijuana programs — became law when it was included in the “cromnibus” budget that was approved by both the House and the Senate in December. Another, which would have forbidden the use of Department of Treasury funds to prosecute banks serving state-sanctioned cannabis businesses, passed by 39 votes in the House but was dropped during budget negotiations. NCIA lobbying efforts, together with the work of allied organizations, helped make these historic votes possible.

4. NCIA holds its first national Cannabis Business Summit, drawing 1,200 attendees to Denver.

In June, NCIA hosted the inaugural national Cannabis Business Summit at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. More than 1,200 cannabis industry professionals spent two days discussing innovation, responsibility, and the challenges and opportunities in building an industry to be proud of. The Cannabis Business Summit returns to Denver in 2015, with attendance expected to double.

5. Legal adult-use sales begin in Washington state and quickly outpace revenue projections.

July saw the opening of legal adult-use sales in Washington state, and legal cannabis businesses are already bringing in more tax revenue than the state projected. Significant differences between the policy designs in Colorado and Washington made the two states’ rollouts proceed at different paces, but ultimately Washington’s experience is again confirming that legal adult-use markets are safe, viable, and effective ways to approach marijuana policy.

6. Midterm voters legalize adult-use marijuana in Alaska, Oregon, and D.C.

Despite a midterm election with extremely low turnout and a huge wave of conservative victories, voters approved adult-use legalization in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., and notched very strong support for medical marijuana in Florida, falling just short of the 60% threshold needed for passage. Given the political dynamics of the 2014 election, it’s clear that support for marijuana policy reform crosses political and ideological lines and that voters of all stripes are increasingly calling for a smarter, safer alternative to marijuana prohibition. It’s a trend that will likely grow even stronger in the 2016 electorate.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Marijuana to stay in Manitou Springs, expands across the U.S.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Maggie's Farm on July 31, 2014, the day it first opened to recreational-marijuana sales. - BRYCE CRAWFORD
  • Bryce Crawford
  • Maggie's Farm on July 31, 2014, the day it first opened to recreational-marijuana sales.

The Manitou Springs marijuana question has been answered at last, with 1,801 people, thus far, voting in favor of stores like Maggie's Farm. 968 people voted against, giving the plant a 65 to 35 percent edge. The anti-pot effort was championed by Tim Haas, who owns the Garden of the Gods Trading Post, and people like resident Kari Kilroy.

"Unfortunately for me, it seems I chose to live in a community where marijuana is valued over common sense, science, health, education, the future of our children, etc. etc.," Kilroy wrote on Facebook this morning. "The only thing to do now is learn to live with it....or perhaps figure out something else."

Other detractors spoke up, with Jerry Wyatt posting to the People Against Retail Marijuana in Manitou Springs page: "I guess when you get stuck with a tattooed pot head and a bunch of money grubbers on counsel the end result is obvious," Wyatt wrote. "Maybe we will get to see the Fed's raid the self-medicater and smile afterall." 

For its part, the Keep Manitou Open campaign posted a comment addressing the fear that the issue would permanently divide the small town: "Now that the election is over, we look forward to coming back together and moving forward as a community. At the end of the day, we have shared values in Manitou Springs that everyone can agree on; inclusivity, an openness for a diversity of lifestyles, and a respect for our neighbors!"


• Voters in Palmer Lake again shot down recreational-marijuana sales, and passed a ballot question that would keep the town from considering the question again until 2017. Medical marijuana is still available.

Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. joined Colorado and Washington as legalizers of marijuana, with D.C. taking the interesting tack of prohibiting retail stores but allowing possession and "gifting" of weed. A heavily Republican Congress still has to sign-off on the law, however.

• South Portland, Maine also made marijuana legal for adults, signifying further attempts to make the plant legal statewide in 2016, says the Marijuana Policy Project.

• Medical marijuana failed in Florida. "Nearly 58% of voters approved Amendment 2, which would have allowed seriously ill people to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it," says the MPP. "The measure failed because 60% approval was required for adoption."

Anti-marijuana supporters echoed a common refrain in celebration, according to WTVJ in Miami. "We are confident that the voters of Florida have made the right decision," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. "The people of Florida were too smart to buy into the weak language and huge loopholes into this amendment, which would have created de facto legalization of marijuana and given our children legal access."

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Contentious new marijuana laws proposed by Colorado legislature

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 9:41 AM

  • Shutterstock

Assuming Democratic state senator Irene Aguilar survives a challenge from Republican Dawne Murray in November, the Denver legislator is set to co-sponsor a bill this upcoming January session with Rep. Jonathan Singer that would mandate that medical-marijuana caregivers register with the state, among other new laws, in an attempt to limit how many plants are grown. The bill comes at the recommendation of a legislative committee.

"The bill requires all primary caregivers to register with the state health agency and the state medical marijuana (licensing authority)," reads the bill summary, viewable below. "Any primary caregiver who is not registered shall register within 10 days of being informed of the duty to register. If a person fails to register after such 10 days, the state health agency and licensing authority shall prohibit the person from ever registering and acting as a primary caregiver.

"The bill requires the licensing authority and the state health agency to share the minimum amount of information necessary to ensure that a medical marijuana patient has only one caregiver and is not using a primary caregiver and a medical marijuana center."

Caregiver registration has always been contentious, with opponents citing its enshrinement in Amendment 20. Talking to the Associated Press, the Southern Colorado Cannabis Council called the bill "a money grab," with director Jason Warf saying, "For them to even write this policy is very irresponsible."

In an emailed statement sent in response to questions from the Independent, Michael Elliott, the executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, says: 

"While we have seen caregivers provide critical help to patients in need, we have also seen black market operators abusing the caregiver program to illegally sell marijuana," Elliott wrote. "The state legislature will have a difficult balancing act with this bill. They will need to address major abuses of the caregiver model, while ensuring that bona fide caregivers are able to provide their patients with their needed medication."

The bill would also mandate the state "adopt rules establishing guidelines for physicians making medical marijuana recommendations for patients who suffer from severe pain," essentially tightening MMJ access in an attempt to drive any recreational users towards the higher taxes in the recreational market. Currently, there are 17,422 registered patients in El Paso County, with 93 percent statewide stating they use marijuana for severe pain.

Sen. Aguilar was reticent to say more, emailing, "After the November elections Representative Singer and I will be available to discuss this issue in more detail."


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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Medical marijuana: The red card is dead

Posted By on Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 12:23 PM

  • Courtesy CDPHE

Though this change was apparently made Aug. 15, I only recently became aware, so if you're likewise in the dark here's the deal: That lovely over-sized, paper red-card in your wallet is soon to be no more, finally replaced with a plastic wallet-sized card colored a lovely purple.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which administers the Medical Marijuana Registry, says the new cards are more functional, and include:

• A new look with purple mountain hues and holographic images.
• Credit card size and shape to easily fit in a wallet.
• Durable, polymer material that is tear-resistant and holds ink permanently.
• Many security features to make it easier to identify the genuine product, including a glowing Colorado state seal that appears under black light.

A Reddit post offers mixed reaction from those who have received the new card: "Its not near as stiff as you would expect or want it to be. Its better than the old one tho," says one user, whose card looks like this. "Yes it is plastic. Thinnnn plastic. But plastic. I mean I've had blockbuster cards with more thickness than this thing. But it is plastic none the less. And should be somewhat easier to take care of."

From another: "A friend of mine who is a budtender told me he has seen them, and they are kind of flimsy and the letters can still rub off. But hell, that's how the rest of my health cards look. I'm just glad I can carry it in my wallet now and not look like a weirdo carrying my red card in my hand as I walk up to the dispensary and through the whole transaction. I don't want to fold it because it feels like that easily degrading social security card material. I think the purple card looks nice. And really, that's really the closest they could have gotten to the color of weed considering the 'green card' is already taken."

Replacement cards will still be printed on the current red-card format until supplies run out. "We anticipate this new design will significantly reduce the volume of replacement requests due to damaged or unreadable cards," says the department.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Colorado's MMJ laws could sunset, state wants feedback

Posted By on Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 2:03 PM


Take this weekend to do what you've always wanted to do: Critique the Colorado Medical Marijuana Code. These are the series of rules and regulations legally guiding MMJ and they're scheduled to sunset on July 1, 2015 unless the legislature reenacts them.

So, before that likelihood, Colorado wants to know what you think about them:
Before the code’s repeal, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies must determine whether:

1) the code serves the public interest;
2) the code should be continued; and
3) there are changes that need to be made to the code.
You can email all comments to the state here. There are also separate surveys for patients and caregivers, which close at 4 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 25.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

House votes to defund medical-marijuana prosecutions

Posted By on Fri, May 30, 2014 at 10:51 AM

In a move marijuana advocates are calling "unprecedented," yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives voted to amend the Commerce, Justice & Science (CJS) appropriations bill — which sets the funding for the Department of Justice, among other entities — to end prosecutions of medical-marijuana patients.

The wording of the amendment, which was co-sponsored by Boulder's Rep. Jared Polis, is pretty straightforward:

"None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana."

As the graphic shows, Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman — who's in a tough battle for reelection against popular Democrat, and former state legislator, Andrew Romanoff — was one of 49 Republicans to support the amendment to the bill, leaving advocates jubilant.

"This Congressional vote is a huge victory for patients," says Steph Sherer, the executive director of Americans for Safe Access, in a statement. "No longer will we have to look over our shoulder and worry when the next raid or indictment will prevent us from safely and legally accessing our medicine."

It's fairly historic, as the amendment has been offered seven times since 2003, says the Marijuana Policy Project, and signifies the first time Congress has acted against the war on marijuana. Still, Sherer's statement isn't technically accurate, as the Senate still has to take up the bill. We contacted Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall for their views on the measure, and will update this post if we hear back.

“If you’ve been wondering when Congress would be forced to catch up to public opinion on cannabis, it started last night,” says Michael Correia with the National Cannabis Industry Association in a release. “The House of Representatives has done its part to respect state laws, patients, and the will of the voters. The Senate should do the same.”

Naturally, our own Rep. Doug Lamborn, who's also up for reelection and faces a primary challenger as well as a Democratic opponent, voted against MMJ patients.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

State to hold meeting about possibly limiting MMJ caregivers

Posted By on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 12:32 PM


This Friday, March 28, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will hold a town hall meeting regarding potential legislation "to address Office of the State Auditor’s recommendations regarding contractors and caregiver limits, introduce a new department policy on the review of medical necessity, and provide the opportunity for public comment ..." reads the notice. It will run from 1 to 4 p.m. at the State Capitol Building in the Old Supreme Court Chambers.

Here's more from the Denver Post:
Colorado has about 5,000 registered caregivers, a designation created in the 2000 medical marijuana amendment that remains in place, even though the drug is now legal for all adults. Most caregivers grow pot for just a few patients, but some have waivers allowing them to grow hundreds of plants for more than six people.

The Health Department, which manages the state medical marijuana registry, wants a hard limit of 30 plants—six each for five patients, spokesman Mark Salley said Tuesday.
In an email sent to Laura Kriho of the Cannabis Therapy Institute, and copied by her to the Indy, state registrar Ron Hyman gives background on another change potentially made by proposed legislation:

"The Department has consulted with the Department of Law on various issues pertaining to the medical marijuana program, including contractor access to the medical marijuana registry," Hyman writes. "Without waiving our attorney-client privilege related to this issue, we received an opinion from our attorney general representative regarding contractor access to the medical marijuana registry, one of the issues raised in the medical marijuana program audit.

"Based upon this opinion, we are seeking legislation to define the term 'authorized employee', as used in the Colorado Constitution, and further clarify the right of access the Department's contractors have to the medical marijuana registry information. We have not yet received an opinion from the Department of Law regarding law enforcement access to the medical marijuana registry."

Those interested in submitting written comments regarding the potentially controversial moves should email them to

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

MMJ patient Bob Crouse wins big with Colorado Court of Appeals

Posted By on Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Bob Crouse, right, is seen with supportive protesters outside the El Paso County Courthouse on Aug. 22, 2011. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Bob Crouse, right, is seen with supportive protesters outside the El Paso County Courthouse on Aug. 22, 2011.
Today, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled 2 to 1 that a District Court judgment ordering the Colorado Springs Police Department to return the marijuana seized from leukemia patient Bob Crouse as evidence was the right move. The decision potentially bolsters a lawsuit filed against the city by Crouse, after he was acquitted at trial, because the plants were ruined while in police care.

"it's a 62-page opinion, 30 of it is dissent, but it is a pretty major victory for those involved," says attorney Charles Houghton, who represented Crouse along with Clifton Black and Laura Haynes, and is leading the current lawsuit against the city. "The appeal was filed back in November, and then Court of Appeals things take a while. But they ruled on this as quickly as I've ever seen the Court of Appeals rule on anything. It's huge."

As far as what it means at large, Houghton's not willing to speculate. "I think you need to read the opinion and draw your conclusion. Like most opinions, there's a lot of ways to look at it. And how it's going to be received and interpreted in the future is yet to be seen."

Here's what the opinion — authored by Judge John R. Webb and concurred with by Judge Stephanie Dunn — reasons: "The prosecution contends that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) preempts the return provision. It relies on only 'obstacle preemption,' a subset of the conflict preemption doctrine.

"We reject this contention, for three reasons. First, the 'positive conflict' phrase in the CSA’s preemption section, precludes applying obstacle preemption. Second, even if obstacle preemption applies, CSA section 885(d), which prevents federal prosecution of 'any duly authorized officer of any State ... who shall be lawfully engaged in the enforcement of any law ...relating to controlled substances,' would preclude applying prohibitions in other CSA sections to police officers complying with a court order issued under the return provision.

"Third, and making the same assumption, the recipient patient’s involvement in the return process also does not create obstacle preemption because the federal government could not commandeer state officials to seize and hold marijuana, and the MM Amendment does not require patients to either demand return or accept returned marijuana.

"Therefore, we affirm the trial court’s order requiring police officers to return marijuana and marijuana plants to defendant, Robert Clyde Crouse."

But for Crouse's case — which comes after a failed prosecution by District Attorney Dan May's office, who also appealed the ruling to return the cannabis and may still appeal this ruling to the Colorado Supreme Court — the news is all good.

"Because now the argument about whether or not the medicine should have been returned at all has been answered: The answer is the medicine should have been returned," Houghton says. "It's never a slam dunk, but it certainly bolsters the position that we took, and that is that he has a right to [police] returning the medicine, or to compensation if they didn't return it to him."

The People of the State of Colorado v. Robert Clyde Crouse

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Feds apparently tell armored cars not to serve marijuana dispensaries

Posted By on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 at 11:41 AM

  • Shutterstock

A press release from the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition says that the Drug Enforcement Agency is pressuring armored car services not to do business with dispensaries in California or Colorado. Little detail is offered on who is affected, but it's no secret that Colorado centers are almost completely cash-only, due to the same federal pressure falling on banks in previous years.

"Combined with federal restrictions and threats made to banks about doing business with marijuana providers, this ensures that businesses known to carry large amounts of cash will be transporting that cash without professional protection," says Stephen Downing, a member of LEAP, in the release. "You couldn't create a situation more ripe for criminal intervention if you tried. It's like the directive was written by petty thugs rather than by one of the most powerful agencies of the US government."

Here's the release, which also comes via famed Oakland dispensary Harborside Health Center, which is in the middle of its own battle against the federal government.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Colorado's marijuana money keeps coming

Posted By on Tue, Aug 6, 2013 at 4:45 PM

  • Shutterstock

As the Medical Marijuana Business Daily reports, a July report shows the state of Colorado has recorded $225.9 $224.9 million in medical-marijuana sales between July 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013, generating $6.23 million in sales-tax revenue for the state. The news organization estimates that, based on current trends reflected in the third-quarter numbers (January through March), sales are likely to top $300 million for Colorado's fiscal year ending June 30.

All this despite shrinking numbers of dispensaries, says the Business Daily.

"Several factors could be at play," it writes, "including a rise in patient numbers; an improving economy that has led to more discretionary income for patients who also consume marijuana for recreational purposes; increasing acceptance; a slight uptick in prices; more accurate reporting by dispensaries and tracking by the state; and possibly even a spike in diversion."

That last point refers to a report from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area that shows the multi-agency task force intercepted Colorado marijuana destined for other states 274 times in 2012. (We're unclear how they know it was grown in Colorado.) Look for more on that in tomorrow's CannaBiz.

Back here, the state's report shows that 14,572 red-card holders helped El Paso County see $12.5 million in MMJ sales this last quarter, and $36.1 million to date, generating $350,000 and $1 million in state revenue, respectively. The county's portion of that is remitted back by the state at a later date, so amounts aren't listed.

Finally, the most recent report from the city of Colorado Springs shows our local government cleared $109,234 in June from sales of medical marijuana, and over half-a-million to date in 2013.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Denver medical-marijuana owners draw 71-count indicment

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 12:55 PM

From left: Conley Hoskins, Audra Wimer, Gerald Searle, Dialyne Parker, Dallan Dirkmaat, Nathan Newman
  • From left: Conley Hoskins, Audra Wimer, Gerald Searle, Dialyne Parker, Dallan Dirkmaat, Nathan Newman.

From left: Ryan Tripp, Yesenia Melendz, Brenden Joyce, David Krause, Kurt Criter, Carlos Meza.
  • From left: Ryan Tripp, Yesenia Melendz, Brenden Joyce, David Krause, Kurt Criter, Carlos Meza.

Today, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers' office announced that a state grand jury indicted Conley Hoskins, Dallan Dirkmaat, Brenden Joyce and nine others "for defrauding investors and running an illegal medical marijuana grow operation," reads the release. "The twelve indicted individuals face 71 criminal counts related to the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act (COCCA) and felony charges for tax evasion, securities fraud and money laundering."

More from the release:

“The first red flag that something was askew came from the careful oversight of Colorado’s Department of Revenue,” said Deputy Attorney General Matthew Durkin. “These individuals stole money from their investors to pay off personal debts and hid their illicit proceeds from law enforcement and taxing authorities and illegally expanded their medical marijuana production capabilities.”

The other nine indicted individuals are David Krause (DOB 03/27/51) Nathan Newman (DOB 09/29/81), Kurt Criter (DOB 03/09/73), Yesenia Melendez (DOB 08/26/90), Carlos Meza (DOB 09/29/89), Ryan Tripp (DOB 10/14/79), Dialyne Parker (DOB 03/09/76), Gerald Searle (DOB 11/06/78) and Audra Wimer (DOB 02/03/87).

The indictment alleges an elaborate pattern of racketeering that began in January 2008. Hoskins, Dirkmaat and Krause are accused of engaging in a scheme to buy, sell, deal, cultivate and/or distribute medical marijuana in Colorado and at least one other state while committing securities fraud, theft, forgery, evading taxes and attempting to influence public servants through deceit. The enterprise evolved into a distribution ring, in part, because many members had longstanding personal and business connections with one another.

Hoskins, and Dirkmaat’s ran business ventures together in construction, car washes and medical marijuana dispensaries. The dispensary that Hoskins owned and managed occasionally used the legal services of Dirkmaat and were co-located in the same building as the People’s Law Firm. The indicted dispensaries are Jane Medicals, LLC, and All Care Wellness Centers, LLC.

Over time, Hoskins’ business interests evolved and he drew on his personal relationships and business experiences to raise capital from investors. He then used those investor funds to run illegal grow operations in Adams, Denver and Larimer Counties.

The filing of criminal charges or an indictment is merely a formal accusation that an individual committed a crime. Each defendant should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. These cases will be prosecuted in Jefferson County by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. The next appearance for most of the indicted individuals is July 9, 2013.

Medical-marijuana indictment of Hoskins, Dirkmaat, Joyce and others.

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