Medical marijuana: City council compromise could still close most grows, attorney says

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A medical-marijuana-grows compromise proposal passed through Denver City Council's special issues committee yesterday, with public input on the measure slated for February 14. At this point, however, attorney Warren Edson is uncertain if the tweaked proposal might still doom as many as 90 percent of MMJ grows in Denver.

According to Edson, who attended the meeting, councilmembers "weren't exactly giving us all the information. They only gave us a piece of paper outlining the highlights of the compromise."

In addition, he says, "I don't think anybody has seen a final version, including them... and they had no data as to how many businesses this was going to affect or the actual zoning for the businesses they were discussing. And that concerns me. They're taking these steps, and they attached some pretty negative items to something that needs to pass in order to come into compliance with 1284," the main medical marijuana regulatory measure in Colorado, signed into law by Governor Bill Ritter last June.

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Warren Edson.
Of greatest concern to Edson is the possibility that three qualifying factors for grandfathering grows for two years -- an extension that presumably aids operations that might otherwise have been forced to shut down by July 1 -- might still linger in the latest version. And if said extension is only granted to original grow owners rather than current ones, Edson believes as many as 137 of 150 grows in Denver would still be in violation of the ordinance.

Equally confusing, in Edson's view, was the difficulty the committee seemed to have in defining facilities used for treatment or rehabilitation -- an important chore given that MMJ operations will no longer be allowed within 1,000 feet of them, for reasons that he sees as hypocritical.

"Carol Boigon made comments about how she's spoken to addiction experts, and marijuana is an addiction problem," he says. "But Charlie Brown and Doug Linkhart talked about how half the time when people are walking out of those facilities, they're looking at a liquor store, so what's the difference? Whether it's the Triangle Park area or over by Broadway and 21st, where some of the addiction-treatment centers are, there are liquor stores right there. And I can't imagine it's a worse problem for people in treatment to see an MMC than it is for them to see a place that sells a more addictive substance like alcohol."

Edson says the committee members seemed quite divided in their opinions about medical marijuana in general, with Chris Nevitt praising some of the operations in his district as great businesses and Paula Sandoval making what he saw as a "snide comment" that MMJ isn't medicine. In the end, he says, "there was one 'no' vote against the Brown-Nevitt proposal -- and it was Charlie Brown!"

With luck, some of the confusion will be cleared up by the meeting on February 14 -- a Valentine's Day Edson hopes owners of grows won't remember for the worst possible reasons.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana: MMC co-owner Morgan Carr says council amendments could cost 1000s."

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9 comments
Creationartist
Creationartist

Ok. Mr. Edson seems to be mis-reading what happened a little. First, there was a hand out of the full compromise, he was just to late to get one as our supporters filled up the council chamber. Second, the final version won't be out until there is public comment. Third, the drug treatment facilities regulation is already in the State law, 1284 that he references, so they didn't add anything new. As for the zoning problem, most grows will be fine unless they rezone again which is unlikely. You can find area maps of the problem areas on the Denver City Council website from the December meetings, so research was done. As for Bogion and Sandoval, both have most likely done NO research into Medical Marijuana like most Americans for various reasons, possibly because they were told that it was bad, and therefore it is bad. This is a stigma that we have to fight to get this legal. The second thing we have to fight is misinformation like what was portrayed in this article. If you want to help see this movement continue I urge you to do YOUR OWN research and come to the meetings that you can. The more faces we can give this industry and medicine, the harder it will be to turn us away.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Creationartist, thanks for helping to clear up this confusing issue. Your help is much appreciated.

Robert
Robert

What has changed between the Public Safety Committee hearings on the dispensary ordinance last year and these meetings of the Special Issue Committee on the 'Denver Medical Marijuana Code' is that Councilors have become even more obsessed with MMJ and self-important, if that is possible. They imagine that all their posturing about imaginary problems and the prohibitive solutions they propose are somehow pace-setting. Coverage of medical cannabis in Colorado in the national media is so distorted that the General Assembly and City Council's reactionary response to medical cannabis is portrayed instead as bold and progressive. Most of the Denver City Council is unabashedly anti-cannabis. Doug Linkhart is being firmly overridden in proposing only less-prohibitive, unique restrictions on state-licensed cultivation of cannabis. Some of the Council, notably Nevitt and Hancock, want it both ways: they claim to be pro-cannabis even as they vote for outrageous proposals to close businesses. Sandoval is an imbecile. Her statement to the effect that "I just want to go on record as saying that marijuana is NOT medicine; some people just use it for medical purposes" demonstrates simultaneously her abject ignorance and stupidity, as well as her unfitness to represent District 1. Boigon, Sandoval, and Robb all asked questions of Asst. City Attorney David Broadwell which betrayed such a depth of ignorance of the law and even of the English language that I wondered whether they might next ask him how to wipe their own asses. Broadwell, for his part, replied to one question (about the difference between proposing to close businesses grandfathered into non-conforming status within two years instead of four years) by stating that "we split the baby" -- the fool was trying to allude to King Solomon (but Solomon managed to resolve his dispute without cutting the baby in two).

This issue serves as a lens -- it's too bad that Denver as a whole doesn't take a good look through it, because it would lead us to reject our Councilors, and to question the structure of local government. The City Council has no responsibility for our criminal police administration, no responsibility for our failing public transportation system, and no responsibility for our failing schools, so they have plenty of time and attention for issues such as whether non-existent community opposition to warehouses already in their neighborhoods having cannabis growing in them will have maximal scope in closing these businesses. It is absurdly obvious that taxpayers in Denver are not getting $4,000,000 worth of useful work out of their City Council every year, and it is time to consider major reforms; as an interim measure, we should slash the budget of City Council.

JumpinJackFlash
JumpinJackFlash

First Edson gets paid by CMMR to help get 1284 passed and now he gets paid to protect their grows. Hey Edson, where were you when Denver was screwing the caregivers and patients? Oh yea, whooping it up at Shotgun Willies with your pal Matt Brown.

Love22
Love22

Wow, alot of assumptions and accusations in your sentence. Did you see the paycheck from CMMR to Warren Edson? Warren Edson has always been there to fight for the MMJ community. Where were you at all the meetings. Were you there speaking YOUR voice?

love22
love22

I am tired of all the gossip, hatred, and accusations being spread in the MMJ community. Everyone thinks they know something about so and so, and oh goush, this person did so and so...come on guys, are we adults here? All the people complaining about the bill 1284, did you go to all the meetings and give a voice? I believe in the medicine. I believe it can help people. I dont believe in the petty accusations and the hatred being spread along.

Betty Aldworth
Betty Aldworth

Fortunately, mayoral candidate Linkhart has asked to see the numbers before the public hearing on 2/14, so we should have more information, at least, then.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Betty, thanks for posting this information. Much appreciated.

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