Medical marijuana: Rob Corry issues notice to sue if Plants 4 Life, Castle Rock can't agree
In January, we told you about Plants 4 Life, a Castle Rock dispensary the town attempted to shut down via an emergency ordinance despite granting it a license to operate. Now, attorney Rob Corry has sent the city formal notice that, sans a resolution, he'll file suit, with damage claims that could be in the $5 million range.
Corry stresses that the die is not cast when it comes to a suit.
"We still are interested in possibly resolving the case without litigation," he says. "We'd much rather have the city reconsider their decision" to ban dispensaries in the town limits. "Only one city council member needs to change his vote and we would win 4-3, so it's a very close call."
He adds that "the initial vote was 7-0, but some members of the council visited Plants 4 Life, talked to patients and changed their mind."
His argument in favor of more switches now turns on the sort of home grows that would crop up without an authorized retail operation.
"The real question from a public-policy perspective is, 'Do you want a proliferation of home-based, totally unregulated and untaxed resale operations? Or do you want it to be regulated, so the government knows where it is and can deal with it?'"
This is an interesting line of attack, particularly given the ongoing discussion in Denver City Council about limiting the number of plants allowed for home grows. Should such an ordinance pass, Corry believes it would be "completely unenforceable, because there is no mechanism in place where the government gets to go into a person's home and inspect the number of plants. In fact, there's no mechanism in place where the government even gets to know who's growing and who isn't. Denver can pass all the laws it wants, but enforcing them is an entirely different matter."
From the Plants 4 Life website.
Nevertheless, "Denver is different from Castle Rock," Corry notes. "Denver allows retail operations, and there are many of them. But if Castle Rock bans dispensaries, there won't be any alternatives. We have a constitutional right to grow and dispense medical marijuana in homes, and that's going to happen whether or not there are retail operations. But it's pretty obvious that if there is a regulated retail operation, that will be the principal supplier, wherever it is."
Plants 4 Life can continue to operate at least until December 31, when the ordinance is scheduled to go into effect. And Corry hopes that during the intervening months, officials will reconsider their position.
"One council member said he believed the cost of developing regulations would be higher than the cost of banning it, but I think he was simply miscalculating the cost of litigation and the negative impact on these unregulated home-based operations that are going to be increasing in Castle Rock," he maintains. "The family-friendly mantra was used as a justification for a ban, but I think the truly family-friendly approach would be to regulate it and put it in the retail sector, where the government knows about it, instead of putting it in residential neighborhoods, where they can't touch it. And that goes for every municipality."
Page down to read Corry's notice to Castle Rock officials, which he also copied to Governor Bill Ritter and members of the Colorado general assembly: