Medical marijuana vote in Castle Rock: Power players face off over last Douglas Co. dispensary

Categories: Marijuana

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Rob Corry
In the ongoing bureaucratic battle over medical marijuana, Castle Rock has already witnessed its fair share of skirmishes. Amber Ostrom, owner of the city's one and only dispensary, Plants 4 Life, had to jump through numerous legal hoops before she was allowed to keep operating. And now, on April 5, city voters will decide once and for all on the fate of Ostrom's operation -- the last surviving dispensary in all of Douglas County. But first, there's going to be a public forum of epic proportions.

Castle Rock is the last Douglas County locale to vote on whether or not to allow commercial medical marijuana centers. And it's clear Ostrom is frightened about the outcome. As she recently told the local paper, The News Press, she believes that shuttering Plants 4 Life would actually hurt Castle Rock -- since in its place would spring up an underground market of unlicensed caregivers. "When home grows go up, a [commercial] ban will hurt the home values because unregulated, un-taxed home-based grow operations will spread to the neighborhoods," she said in the interview.

But before her fears potentially come to pass, Ostom and her supporters -- as well as her detractors -- will have one last chance to sway the outcome: On Wednesday, March 30, the Douglas County Substance Abuse Coalition will host a Medical Marijuana Educational Forum at 6:30 p.m. at the Douglas County Events Center, 500 Fairgrounds Drive in Castle Rock -- and from the looks of it, things are going to get feisty.

"The Substance Abuse Coalition of Douglas County has been wanting to provide this opportunity for almost two years," says coalition chair Mac McAvenia. "The volatility of this issue has been a struggle within the coalition for obvious reasons, preventing us from holding this forum in conjunction with past Substance Abuse Resource Fairs." With the town of Castle Rock voting on the fate of the last dispensary in all of Castle Rock, the coalition figured it was now or never. "A few current and former council members have formed a committee and sent out mailers with the very fear and scare tactics we are attempting bring light to," says McAvenia. "Ignorance accomplishes nothing."

To combat that ignorance, the coalition has lined up some of the most colorful and outspoken figures on both sides of the debate. Along with Ostrom, media-savvy marijuana attorney Rob Corry will take the stage to argue for the freedom to sell pot. And on the other side? None other than Carol Chambers, controversial 18th Judicial District Attorney, who's used to making headlines of her own.

"We purposely went as far left and right, if you will, because of their passion," says McAvenia. "The panel will also include folks with more moderate views as well as [those who can talk about] medical and physiological aspects. That will hopefully temper the rhetoric with valid information and facts while avoiding a donnybrook."

But with folks like Corry and Chambers in attendance, a donnybrook might be unavoidable.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana: Donor complaints lead food bank to abandon dispensary pot-for-food drive."

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13 comments
tracy faust
tracy faust

must say that overall I am really impressed with this blog.It is easy to see that you are passionate about your writing. If only I had your writing ability I look forward to more updates

Sailorjerry423
Sailorjerry423

I went to meeting. I turned out COMPLETELY opposite of what I envisioned (Lambs at a slaughter).

The panelists were Sunni Bell (works with families in justice system), Carol Chambers (18th District DA), Rob Corry, Dr . Bob Melamende, Dr. Alan Schackleford, and Stan Garret.

After the meeting was over, I talked to Carol Chambers, she was saying how she had never heard the arguments that the others where putting out, such as Dr Bob's explanation that cannabinoids are in mother's milk, or Alan Schackleford's explanations , etc....

In summation, this event renewed my spirit for the movement. Pro cannabis folks went into a Lion's Den and presented solid evidence that was very persuasive and real. The anti-mmj folks were completely unable to rebute them, and in fact may have even changed their minds...

It was a great day for cannabis advocacy in Colorado today. To bad you missed it. Perhaps you can see it on the upcoming National Geographic series on MMJ in Colorado.... they were there filming it.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Great post, Sailorjerry423 -- and interesting information about National Geographic. Thanks for sharing your observations.

Sailorjerry423
Sailorjerry423

In reality, what is going to happen in Castle Rock is that the MMC ban will pass. THEN the caregivers will be removed by the Town passing zoning restrictions, like for instance, the zoning regulation in Douglas County where a caregiver can only caregiver for another person who resides in the same house. MMJ in Douglas County will be completely unobtainable by the the end of 2011, at the latest.

@Boulder Med Cannabis: Plants4Life was responding to a flier that was sent out by a PAC. The flier had out-right lies in it, such as, "Dispensaries will be a magnet for crime". SO they responded the way they did. And I guarantee you its a lot easier to drive around town w/ a infrared camera looking for private houses growing MJ to rob then it is to rob a MMC.

Sadly, in a polarized issue like this in Castle Rock, scare tactics are likely the only tactics that will sway voters.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

An intriguing take, Sailorjerry423. Thanks for posting.

Boulder Med Cannabis
Boulder Med Cannabis

"And I guarantee you its a lot easier to drive around town w/ a infrared camera looking for private houses growing MJ to rob then it is to rob a MMC."

really? has this happened even once in Colorado? sensationalism.

Boulder Med Cannabis
Boulder Med Cannabis

"When home grows go up, a [commercial] ban will hurt the home values because unregulated, un-taxed home-based grow operations will spread to the neighborhoods,"

you are not on the side of cannabis in Colorado. you are selling fear.

Any time a member of the cannabis community tries to justify their existence based on the fear of another member of the community, we must call bs! don't take a dump on your biggest potential supporters.

Robert
Robert

I don't like that rhetoric either, but many other people in the industry have mouthed something like it because they hope it has some traction with prohibitionists in government. Caregivers are those who should be growing cannabis for patients, whenever, wherever, and however they see fit, so long as other statutory requirements (e.g. electrical codes) are met, and trying to play upon the fear of them doing what the People mandated they could do is certainly counterproductive for patients and for the cause of re-legalization. It is wrong to identify caregivers as likely supporters of MMCs however; any caregivers who still aspire to make a living at it must oppose the unconstitutional scheme the General Assembly came up with for the express purpose of trying to deprive them of their constitutional rights. Caregivers who devote themselves to the care of just a few patients at a loss have every reason to resent MMCs.

As a representative first of patients, I take a pragmatic stance: MMCs are a convenient way for patients to obtain medicine, and many patients depend on them. Support the only dispensary in Castle Rock as it struggles to continue its business, which does get cannabis to people who need it. There are members of the Teapot Party and activists in Castle Rock working hard to educate enough voters that the town does not restrict access to this essential, constitutionally protected medicine.

Robert D. ChaseColorado Coalition for Patients and CaregiversVice-Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Willie Nelson's Teapot Partycopatientsandcaregivers@gmail.com(720) 213-6497

Boulder Med Cannabis
Boulder Med Cannabis

I support MMCs and their role as well, but I will not support sellers of fear. The MMCs that will bring the whole world down around them to win aren't the right people to be in the business. Anytime an MMC tries to scare people about caregivers I am repulsed. Home values? give me a break. what a bunch of shit.

Boulder Med Cannabis
Boulder Med Cannabis

I truly wish them luck for the sake of patient access in the area. I also hope that the kind of fear I am seeing people try to incite in this thread doesn't cause area patients to not grow their own medicine after these folks are legislated out of existence.

Robert
Robert

The issue at hand is whether the voters of Castle Rock should or should not prohibit commerce in medical cannabis -- my position is that they should not. Any vituperation against plants4life is inappropriate in the context of such a discussion.

Sailorjerry423
Sailorjerry423

@Boulder Med - Take your dumbass remark and stick it.

@Intelligent and caring people - Please attend this event tommorow at 6:00pm. Amber will need all the help she can get.... its a Lion's den down there...

Boulder Med Cannabis
Boulder Med Cannabis

i would just like to take this moment to say screw you to plants4life owner Ostom from all of the responsible non-profit patient growers and caregivers.

u suck.

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