Marijuana statements show AG John Suthers needs to get a life, says advocate Brian Vicente

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Brian Vicente.
In touting the break-up of an alleged drug ring said to be using medical marijuana as cover, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers suggested a link between the MMJ biz and illegal dealing.

Sensible Colorado's Brian Vicente sees this statement and others as evidence Suthers is wasting taxpayers' money on an anti-pot campaign.

"I certainly don't feel like the arrest of a small group of citizens should serve as an indictment of the medical marijuana program and the many people who find benefit from our constitutional amendment," Vicente says.

"Certainly, people should not be using it as a front for recreational sales -- but what we have are simply allegations. We don't really know if that happened or not," he points out, adding, "The really surprising thing to me about this incident was the politically charged nature of attorney general Suthers's comments."

In a press release about the arrests, which included Laura Vanwormer, co-owner of Colorado CHRONIX, a meet-up group, Suthers said:

"This case, while disturbing, should come as no surprise to Coloradans who have been concerned that there is a nexus between Colorado's booming medical marijuana industry and illegal distribution of the drug. This case counters the contention among marijuana advocates and some public officials that a regulated medical marijuana system will undercut the illicit market for marijuana."

These remarks smack of "a political stunt," Vicente maintains. When Suthers "arrests people and the same day issues various proclamations about how all medical marijuana is a farce and people are using the law as a front and all this garbage -- which is, by and large, untrue -- it begs the question of what role the attorney general is playing. Are there no other crimes or more pressing issues than people selling medical marijuana? It's sort of shocking that he doesn't have anything better to do, and fundamentally, I think he's wasting taxpayer dollars on these probably fruitless prosecutions."

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John Suthers.
Not that Vicente denies the possibility of individuals legally selling medical marijuana to patients at the same time they're dealing pot for recreational use in violation of federal law.

"There was a gray area for many years," he says, "when it was arguably legal to have dispensaries, but people were trying to figure out what the laws were. But more and more, those laws have become clearer, and there's a transition from the gray market to the mainstream market. And by and large, the vast majority of providers are simply medical providers. They're not dealing in any recreational fashion."

As such, he describes the allegations in last week's bust, if proven true in court, as isolated incidents, despite his belief that "John Suthers and his cronies are attempting to paint them as commonplace occurrences."

Could this tack be an attempt to undermine a campaign to legalize marijuana for adult use in 2012?

"There is a back story here," Vicente allows. "The reason we have an illicit market is because marijuana is not yet legal for all adults. We don't see large scale alcohol distribution rings being busted by the state, and once marijuana is legal for adult use, hopefully at the end of 2012, I think we're going to see that illicit market absolutely fade away. And these law enforcement officials will be forced to focus on real crime -- on the problems that are actually nagging at our society. They'll be forced to use taxpayer dollars more effectively."

In the meantime, Vicente points to "Not So Fast, Mr. Suthers," a Sunday column by the Denver Post's Vince Carroll, as a way of portraying Suthers as a zealot on the issue of medical marijuana. Carroll -- a conservative on many issues, but a supporter of medical marijuana -- actually needles Vicente in the piece, scoffing at his suggestion that young people may turn away from trying pot because many of the patients using it medically are elderly. But he saves his heaviest ammunition for the AG, writing, "The more implacable opponents of dispensaries and decriminalization, Suthers included, rarely acknowledge the social costs of the war on pot or its toll on personal freedom and civil liberties -- or even that some dispensary patients actually are seeking pain relief as opposed to a recreational high."

Vicente expresses his thoughts about Suthers's "crusade" more bluntly.

"I really think attorney general Suthers needs to get a life," he says. "There are more important priorities, more important things to use our state's resources for, than targeting adults for allegedly selling a drug less harmful than alcohol. This political posturing is getting absurd."

More from our Marijuana archive: "John Suthers, Colorado Attorney General, on medical marijuana proposal: 'This isn't what the voters approved.'"

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Leonard Krivitsky, MD
Leonard Krivitsky, MD

In this society of ever-increasing stress levels, how can anyone possibly justify keeping the substance that promotes violence (alcohol) "legal", while insisting that the substance that suppresses violence (Cannabis) should be kept "illegal"! Total absence of logic. Cannabis is not physically addictive as it has no documented physical withdrawal syndrome associated with its use; smoking Cannabis has been shown to have NO connection with increased risk of lung cancer, the so-called "gateway drug" theory is a non-existent entity altogether, and Marinol is a synthetic THC analogue, which is not at all the same thing as Medicinal Cannabis. This is together with the remarkable medicinal properties of the Cannabis plant, the denial of which is not even a "rational" thing to do! It is as pointed out in the prestigious "Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook" that states clearly that "Cannabis use suppresses violent behavior and only the unsophisticated think otherwise". Cannabis prohibition is doing more harm to this society than many people realize, as the (young) people are pushed to "experiment" with alcohol/hard drugs or dangerous, physically addictive prescription drugs, many of which promoting violent behavior instead of suppressing it as Cannabis does. CA Prop. 19 directly challenged the DEA "dogmas", and it was the reason why it infuriated the "powers that be" the way it did! Unfortunately, many lawmakers are still swayed by the DEA disinformation in all these respects, but one thing is clear: just like KGB before it, the DEA will not be able to defend its mindless "dogmas" by repression alone; sooner or later the American people will clearly see this nonsense, and they will not tolerate it indefinitely!

Concerned for US
Concerned for US

Brian and the Gang: lets start to focus a little more on the benefits to the economy that is provided by your sensible alternative, because everyone is in pain there. People begin to care when it makes a difference to their pocketbooks and Cannabis has huge benefits - all around- to make a difference in this area. Mr Suthers has to be persuaded that hemp isn't an enemy and neither are its advocates. Proclaiming some one needs to 'get a life' does little but put one against another in this very 'tricky' debate. We all know the benefits of MC for pain and the like but that is clouded by a 'drug couture' we are unlikely to escape. The 'sense' is, everyone wants a boost to the economy and judging by canada's progress, we can likely do the same.

find out here: http://realneo.us/content/reco...

this is a little quote from the website 'Hemp News'

'In 1998, Canada legalized hemp as a product and began national development of hemp related industries. Prior to making that decision, analysts consider the economic cases for and against developing the hemp industry in their nation - a major decision - and they decided: RECOMMENDATION: Legalize commercial hemp production, the sooner the better to capitalize on first mover advantage. Since then, Canada has certainly taken a "first mover" advantage with the hemp industry and developed a bright green economy, with $10s billions in national benefits providing 100,000s of jobs in their nation, in about a decade.'

turns out its tens of billions! that's less than 1 tenth of the sovereign debt but it'll have to do!thanks and praises

Jack L Eich
Jack L Eich

john suthers is a communist using unproved propaganda to try to reinforce his shakey views. what a jerk. cannabis is an herb not a drug.

GREEDKILLZ
GREEDKILLZ

Hey is Brian growing a pair or did Suthers forget to call the AZ government to secure Brian and Masons MJ Dispensary license? Seriously actions speaks louder than words and your only as good as your last. If MMJ had an antique road show people would be dusting off and dragging in Rob Corry and Brian Vicente in to see how much their worth.

Cjsjr
Cjsjr

Brian Vicente is actually gay! He is going after a former lover who was threatening to blackmail him with detail of their gay relationship!

Cjsjr
Cjsjr

I meant to type John Suthers, sorry.

jerry's mom stole my handle
jerry's mom stole my handle

this is slightly off topic, but i was under the impression that marijauna was legal for adults over 21 in the city and county of Denver. so... why cant a center in denver sell to peole in denver? or are there places around?

Robert
Robert

Cannabis remains illegal to sell to non-patients under state statute. So-called Medical Marijuana Centers (MMCs) were created by the Colorado General Assembly last year in an effort to monopolize the sale of medicinal cannabis to patients.

:)
:)

go brian!

Patientlawsuit
Patientlawsuit

Public Meeting andMedical Marijuana Legal Panel

Wed., Jan. 12, 2011Casselman's Bar and Venue2620 Walnut Street, Denver, CO 80205

Free and open to the public.

Schedule:

6:00pm - 6:30pm: Mingling and cash bar

6:30pm - 7:30pmPatient & Caregiver Rights Litigation ProjectDiscussion of current lawsuits to regain patient and caregiver rights and the positive benefits for cannabis business.

* Andrew B. Reid, Senior Counsel, Springer and Steinberg, P.C., author of Original Action Petition to Colo. Supreme Court filed 1/5/11. * Kathleen Chippi, Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project * Kristy A. Martinez, Attorney at Law, Amicus Support for Original Action Petition * Peter Loyd Weber, Attorney at Law, Amicus Support for Original Action Petition * Richard M. Gee, Attorney at Law, Amicus Support for Original Action Petition * Eric Moutz, Attorney at Law, Amicus Support for Original Action Petition

Denvercruiser
Denvercruiser

Suthers looks like quite a lecherous dirtbag in that file photo, but I'm sure he's a great guy since he doesn't use cannabis and all. That photo evokes memories of John Laroquette's character in "Night Court."

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Strong takes, everyone. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Laura_vanwormer
Laura_vanwormer

Dear Michael Roberts,Please get your FACTS right BEFORE posting such negative and erroneous information about people. It is unfair of you to Slander MY name just to write a story. You should be ashamed of yourself!!!!! A very FREE and innocent Laura VanWormer co-owner of Colorado-CHRONIX, LLC.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Laura, thanks for posting. We'd love to hear your side of the story. Please phone me at the main Westword number, 303-296-7744.

Paula Rhoads
Paula Rhoads

I called John Suthers a pimp on television once. A few months later, I saw him across the crowded lobby of the legislative services building while waiting for a committee hearing. He was glaring at me, and it seemed the entire room noticed too. I was stunned to notice immediately that he is far more ugly in person than his photos in the paper.

I said what I meant and I meant what I said. Mr. Suthers is a pimp.

Paula Rhoads
Paula Rhoads

I wish John Suthers had paid attention when I was complaining that I could not get legal representation in the Colorado Worker's Compensation system. I posted my brainscans on public access television recently, which showed a bloody thalamus. But Suthers joined the defense of my former employer, Lennar Corporation, with HQ in Miami, instead of me.

I think Mr. Suthers wronged me by slamming his door closed in my face several times. I think he was dishonest in his election campaign when he stated his "top priority" was protecting Colorado citizens. I have been a Colorado citizen since 1994.

The result is I never got my benefits, despite the bloody thalamus, or any medical care from them. My husband left me, my extended family too.

I think Suthers had plenty of time to help me. If he had not "contracted" with Pinnacol Assurance, he would not have been improperly influenced by their money to turn his back on me.

DFWNorml
DFWNorml

I think we need to start a campaign to point out police and government oppression! The fact is, John Suthers is a bigot! He hates people who believe in Freedom, specifically Marijuana Users.

I served for more than 20 years in uniform to retire and realize the vast majority of older conservative Americans hate liberal younger Americans and they want to ensure they are all jailed. Ergo, the War on Drugs that has caused our country to become the largest prison country in the world with 25% of the worlds prison population right here.

Have no doubt, Mr. Suthers intends to JAIL every Marijuana user in Colorado. He's just another traitor in a suit.

Denvercruiser
Denvercruiser

It's becoming obvious that A.G. Suthers will take any opportunity he can to cast the MMJ industry in a negative light, I'm glad Mr. Vicente has spoken out.

concerned
concerned

I wish Brian would have spoken up for patients when hb1284 was being written. Or the DOR rules.

Denvercruiser
Denvercruiser

I agree, but at least he's on the right side of this argument.

Robert
Robert

John Suthers has a life; he is the aw-shucks, no-flshy-stuff here, good ole boy who does nothing to protect Colorado's consumers from being ripped off by greedy corporations, and has no compunction about lying to try to shore up his network of prohibitionist scum in law enforcement -- Colorado's dopey voters like the first qualities I mentioned, and apparently don't care that this man is dedicated to bankrupting our state by incarcerating more and more Coloradans (and anyone else we get our hands on). If there were justice in Colorado, Suthers would be a nobody and any number of good people he has prosecuted would be free.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

"it begs the question of what role the attorney general is playing."

John Suthers has been quite clear on where he stands, publicly he has come out against hb1284. http://blogs.westword.com/late...

"I join many in law enforcement health care and drug treatment in vehemently opposing any legislation that embraces the clinic or dispensary model for distribution of medical marijuana. My reasons are as follows:

In 2000 the Colorado voters passed Amendment 20 to the Colorado Constitution. In enacting Amendment 20 the voters allowed patients with debilitating medical conditions to assert an affirmative defense to enforcement of the state marijuana laws. Patients are allowed to grow and possess small amounts of marijuana for themselves, or if they choose, to have a "primary caregiver," a person who has "significant responsibility for the welfare of the patient," to grow small amounts for them. Even the proponents of Amendment 20 acknowledged that it did not allow for the commercial sale of marijuana and certainly did not provide for commercial dispensaries or clinics.

For the first eight years the patient/caregiver model worked reasonably well."

Thats right, John, the constitutional amendment for mmj worked quite well. The unconstitutional provisions in hb1284 must fall. That is why myself and the Patient Caregiver Rights Litigation Project filed on Original Action in the Colorado Supreme Court fighting for re establishing patient and caregiver rights enshrined in our constitution that "worked reasonably well". The 558 page petition is worth the read if your concerned about what your RIGHTS actually are and why hb1284 stomped on those rights, check it out at:

Cannabislawsuit.com

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

58 pages not 558--sorry

Jeromegarcia
Jeromegarcia

So, how did your lawsuit for MMJ turn out?

Bichote420
Bichote420

How did your constitutional rights turn out?

jerome garcias mom
jerome garcias mom

Jerome, How many times do I have to tell you to stop embarrassing the family name? Please stop attacking the only person in the state who was willing to sue on behalf of ALL patients and caregivers statewide. We understand you do not care about patients when you support hb1284 but these persistent comments only show the world that you and the groups you support are not for patient rights. Your dad and I are not happy.

ColoradoNative
ColoradoNative

Brian -You have bigger cajones than I. Power never gives up without a fight.

Alanpierce
Alanpierce

Brian helped write hb1284 and sat on the DOR advisory panel that came up with the MMC rules that eliminate constitutionally protected caregivers and patients privacy. Which side is Brian and playing?

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