Medical marijuana: Petition asks CO Supreme Court to rule state's MMJ laws unconstitutional

Categories: Marijuana

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Governor Bill Ritter signed Colorado's medical marijuana bills into law this past June -- and ever since then, advocacy organizations such as the Cannabis Therapy Institute have challenged many of the legislation's provisions and the regulations being written for them. Now, such arguments have been formalized via a petition to the Colorado Supreme Court, which is being asked to rule the laws unconstitutional.

The petition -- all 58 pages of it -- and a 240-page appendix filled with supporting arguments from past court rulings are on view below in their entirety.

The man behind these documents is Andrew Reid, an attorney for the firm of Springer and Steinberg. He's arguing on behalf of petitioners led by Kathleen Chippi, once the owner of the One Brown Mouse/Cannabis Healing Arts dispensary. Back in July, Chippi announced that she wouldn't sign Colorado's MMJ license agreement, declaring it to be "downright evil."

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Kathleen Chippi.
Reid uses considerably more lawyerly language when discussing the legislation -- and he stresses that he decided to take on the cause for reasons other than a belief in the power of cannabis.

"I'm not a marijuana lawyer," he points out, "and my practice isn't focused on medical marijuana law. I'm a constitutional lawyer, and I've approached this in regard to the constitutional issues.

"The case actually has little to do with marijuana or medical marijuana," he continues. "It's an issue of patient's access to a medication that's been recommended by his or her doctor -- a right to medication that was enshrined by the will of the people in the Colorado constitution. It's our position that the legislation, and now the regulations -- although the regulations aren't mentioned in the petition -- undermine the will of the people."

The first category of complaints outlined in the petition deal with patient access to medication.

According to Reid, "The access issues arise not only in the restrictions on the definition of caregiver in the legislation, which is contrary to that which is in the constitution, as is the description of physicians in good standing to recommend medical marijuana. Probably of greatest importance at this time are the provisions that authorize local communities to ban medical marijuana businesses, which frustrate access to medicine. Many of these patients can't travel -- they can't even get out of bed. That's why they need caregivers, who must transport medicine to patients. And if access to medicine is restricted in some parts of the state, the constitutional rights of many patients are being undermined.

"The legislation sets up medical marijuana businesses -- essentially medical marijuana pharmacies and the production of medication. And while they're not mentioned specifically in the constitution, the constitution mentions sales, distribution and the manufacture of medicine -- so that implies there's a constitutional protection there. And a patient's right to access their medication through dispensaries and manufacturers is covered in the petition."

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The petition's second prong deals with "patient privacy," Reid explains. He believes the state's MMJ legislation violates this right "by injecting the Department of Revenue and its provisions on privacy on the disclosure of a patient's medical records. This essentially treats medical marijuana patients as criminal suspects. And patients who've had medication recommended by doctors, regardless of whether that medication is medical marijuana or prescriptive narcotics, are not criminal suspects, and they shouldn't be treated that way. The only agency that should have any access to these records under the constitution is the state's Department of Health. By injecting the Department of Revenue and law enforcement undermines a patient's constitutionally protected rights to privacy."

As Reid concedes, "the Supreme Court has total discretion about whether or not to hear this case, and relatively few petitions of this nature are accepted by Supreme Courts in this state or any state." But he's hopeful that Colorado's top jurists will accept original jurisdiction -- meaning that they'll consider the subjects raised in the petition without waiting for lower courts to tackle them first.

"It's an unusual procedure," Reid says, "but it's one that's used in constitutional questions of sufficient urgency. And the urgency is obviously the impact the legislation is having on over 100,000 medical marijuana patients in the State of Colorado."

Not all of these patients suffer from life-threatening conditions, but plenty of them do, Reid allows: "Some cancer patients or AIDS patients who have difficulty eating could literally starve to death if they can't get their medical marijuana to deal with the nausea they're suffering."

Page down to read the documents.

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14 comments
Starter
Starter

Courage, Liberty, Guns and Weed I've often been told that when you're giving a speech — if all you get is applause and cheers — and you never piss anyone off — you're no better than a low-life politician, because you're not challenging anyone's conventional mode of thought. Hopefully, I get at least a few eyebrows raised here in my 8—9 short minutes….

So let's start out with the easy stuff, ok? I'm a tenther. That means I believe that the federal government should exercise only those powers that we the people delegated to it in the constitution — and nothing more. For example, no Obamacare mandates, no bank bailouts, and definitely no federal gun laws — period.

Question. How many people here own a gun, or manufacture or sell guns?

And how many of you are proud felons — meaning, when the government makes rules to restrict your right to keep and bear arms, you simply ignore them because they don't have the authority to do so?

HEMPCON

I recently went to an event called Hemp Con down in my part of the state — Los Angeles. This is a big event at the LA convention center — with loads of vendors and businesses from every angle you can think of in support of the marijuana industry. There were home security companies to help protect your weed, solar power companies to help you grow your weed, doctors giving out medical marijuana cards to virtually anyone with $80 and an hour of time. There were even delivery services — you can get your marijuana delivered to you 24 hours a day…in 30 minutes or less. The pizza companies have nothing on these guys! It was amazing if you think about it from an economic standpoint — this was capitalism, the free market — working its wonders around an industry.

What's the point?

Virtually EVERY single one of those businesses was either directly violating federal law, or aiding someone else in doing so because marijuana is illegal, according to the feds — but not the constitution — in all situations. In 2003, Tommy Chong was arrested for merely selling pieces of glass — pipes that could be used to smoke marijuana. And today, 7 years later, we've got what seemed to be the WalMart of weed in Downtown Los Angeles. And guess what — no ATF or DEA thugs shut the place down. Business functioned, people did what they wanted to in freedom, and that was that.

FREEDOM TO TRAVEL

Another quick story.

In 2005, the Bush administration got the REAL ID act passed, which was — in the eyes of many — a new form of a national ID card. We were warned that if this act wasn't followed, people wouldn't be able to travel, enter federal buildings, get on planes, and the like.

Much of my girlfriend's family lives in Missouri, a state that's not in compliance with the Real ID act. Her relatives do a little traveling from time to time. They get on airplanes and show their non-compliant Missouri driver's license. No federal agents stop them and prevent them from boarding a plane.

Well, most state DL's — including those in Missouri — don't comply with the Real ID Act. That law is still on the books in DC — it's never been repealed. It's never been challenged in court either. But — due to 25 states refusing to comply with the “law” — in much of the country that Real ID act is virtually null and void.

Here in California, the state always seems to be on its knees, begging the feds for something. Well, except on marijuana. In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that state medical marijuana laws were illegal. At that time there were 10 states that had such laws. Do you know how many were repealed? Zero. And today, there's 14 states defying Washington DC, and getting away with it.

Today, we see the Firearms Freedom Act movement growing along these lines — it's already passed in 8 states. Following that lead, 5 states have passed laws saying no to Obamacare mandates too.

THE LESSON

What's the lesson? This is the blueprint — when enough people say no to unconstitutional laws, regulations….and mandates….and enough states pass laws to back those people up — there's not much the federal government can do, but slowly and consistently back off. There's no tanks rolling into Los Angeles to shut down the dispensaries, and there's no jack-booted thugs forcing people to get new driver's licenses in Missouri. This is far from perfect, but it can work, and it is working right now.

So here's the final question — and the big challenge to you today.

The next time you begrudgingly follow some federal “law” that restricts your right to keep and bear arms — or the next time you hear about a gun rights case that will be decided in 2, or 4, or 6 years — with the hope that some judge will give you permission to exercise your rights, ask yourself this question:

Do you….gun rights activists….have as much courage as the pot smokers?

For the sake of liberty — I hope you do — because I believe that we the people need to exercise our rights whether they the government wants to give us “permission” to or not!

Guest
Guest

Might I also add that isn't it enough that our Gov.,States,Cities,the greedy have raped the American people enough for loads of decades with unjust taxes that we work hard for,not only that but taxes are illegal I have never seen a piece of Constitutional Law which says the American people agreed to pay unlimited taxes and if not you go do time .look I don't have a problem paying taxes to help the American people but to say if I don't I can lose my freedom is unjust period ,this Gov. can state that SSI will be no more in the near future wow is what I say how they can keep stealing from the people but when asked what about your pensions or why don't you have the same health care as the people they get all offensive,we the people must demand for everything they take from us we must take from them that's just how this should work why should they keep living life to the fullest while the American people keep suffering, we have plenty to bail big corp. out but we don't have money to help the American people,here's an idea all the wasteful trillions spent on corps which didn't pay back our money should of been pushed to cutting the American peoples debt and jobs period .Oh and Currency is another issue it's Currency that is killing everyone if we had no Currency and more of a plan how to work together to explore other worlds we wouldn't be fighting for such a little one here what fools we become .

Guest
Guest

Start supporting the small caregivers there out there you all just have to find them and look .

Guest
Guest

Nah correction they where told ahead of time they know A20 wasn't finished the only thing left on A20 was to protect the patients from fraud these corrupted officials took that and used there sneaky tactics like always to push there unconstitutional laws and rules plain and simple stop being fooled ,Our gov.,States,Cities,most the cricket MMC's who bent over and took the 1284 ,those growers who don't wish marijuana to be fully legalized in 2012 ,the CZAR behind all the support this is greed to the fullest kill there blank checks they are using against us with our own money and we need to get a judge to allow us to sue Ritter personally for lying and stating he wouldn't touch the MMJ funds,this will be a start .

Our Gov. Lies
Our Gov. Lies

It's not A20 that is unconstitutional it's HB 1284 and HB 109 that are unconstitutional Period nothing else to be said people we all live 1 life why must we be blind to see there's always fuck tards in power who believe we all should live like there retarded asses .Ps:What happen to all man created equal bs !!!

Guest
Guest

Right Kathleen what's good for the people isn't good for the gov.this crap should of ended a long time ago this is bs to it's fullest all the false claims that crimes gotten bigger is a bunch of false stories also if anything the MMJ communities have helped almost in every area you can think of period as soon as the Gov,states,cities have taxed this it should be known they are agreeing and accepting to stop incriminating the Americans if not everybody should group up and sue the gov.,states,and cities for taking our money and running with it .

Polly Patient
Polly Patient

Let's move on to the next lawsuit. It's gonna take more than one to stop the state's steam roll to collecting medical information on every patient in the state!

DONATE!http://www.CannabisLawsuits.co...

Guest
Guest

Well one great target for a lawsuit would be to end there blank checks with our mmj money I can't believe no lawyer has stepped up and sued them for touching our funds if that ends watch there corrupted group crumble !!!!

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

FoO, sorry about that. I've replaced the photo with a new image. Thanks for the heads-up.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

I just want to publicly THANK my attorney, Andrew Reid.

When I first called Andrew, I left a message saying I needed help getting as many patients and caregivers as many rights back, as fast as we could.

This petition is that.

Guest
Guest

Kathleen Chippi you should join www.Shabong.com if you get time we would love to have updates and spread the word the owner of the site is really nice the patients are also thanks for your step up and I wish you all the luck and support !!!!

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Kathleen, thanks for adding your comments to this post. They definitely supplement Andrew Reid's take.

Anon
Anon

Way to go Ms Chippi. Thankfully there are still a few people like yourself who care about protecting patient's right to their medicine and their privacy.

Robert
Robert

Kathleen, please call me.

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