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Medical marijuana: Rob Corry wouldn't sign MMJ clean-up bill if he were John Hickenlooper

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Rob Corry.
Last October, attorney Rob Corry wrote to John Hickenlooper to ask the then-Denver mayor to stop prosecuting Lacy Lee, a woman busted for smoking pot at a pro-cannabis rally; the case was later dropped. Now, Corry's written to Hick again, this time to offer expert analysis on HB 1043, a bill to clean-up aspects of last year's MMJ regulatory package. If Hickenlooper asks if he should sign the bill, what would Corry tell him? No.

Corry calls the measure "a mixed blessing," with some troublesome aspects embedded in the text. He admits to being "extremely disappointed that the moratorium was continued for another year" -- meaning new MMJ-related businesses will be prohibited from launching until July 1, 2012 at the earliest. In his view, "that locks in the same players, or forces people to buy out those same players if they want to get into the industry.

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John Hickenlooper.
"I thought the original moratorium in HB 1284," the aforementioned 2010 law, "was ridiculous. But this is protectionism at its worst. I'm sure the existing industry undoubtedly lobbied for the moratorium, because they want to protect themselves -- and the government is being their benefactor. But the moratorium has the opposite effect the government says it wants, which is responsible, upstanding people who can pass background checks in this business. My experience has been that newer arrivals tend to be business-savvy people without criminal records. But with the moratorium, most of them can't get involved."

In addition, Corry objects to what he calls "the extreme restrictions on caregivers and the disclosure requirement that they register with the Department of Revenue, which is a violation of a promise made to all of us who've been involved in this entire process. The department told us, 'We don't care about caregivers. We just want to license centers and watch the commercial side of this.' But this bill requires them to register with the Department of Revenue and disclose their location in the Department of Revenue database, as opposed to the confidential database of the Department of Health."

The result, Corry believes, is that many caregivers will refuse to register -- and while it's unclear if they could be prosecuted for not doing so, "it would be a viable option for a district attorney to pursue," he says. "Of course, if that were to happen, and I were representing that person, I'd assert the defense that 1043 is unconstitutional, because the constitution gives caregivers confidentiality and keeps them out of view of government registration and that kind of thing."

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John Walsh.
Do these requirements contradict statements made by U.S. Attorney John Walsh in a letter sent to legislators about HB 1043? Corry thinks so. "He singles out caregivers as having special protection over and above centers and grows and other businesses that are a creature of statute -- and that's something interesting we haven't heard from federal prosecutors previously. I don't want to speculate about his intent, but it's possible that caregiving may be the only safe way to dispense medicine as far as the federal government is concerned. Although the counter-argument to that is Chris Bartkowicz," the MMJ grower prosecuted federally after he showed off his Highland Ranch grow to 9News. "He claimed caregiver status, because the center concept wasn't in existence yet."

Such apparent contradictions make it "hard to have a reasoned argument about this," Corry notes. "The ground rules are made up as we go along and are constantly shifting." Nonetheless, given what he considers the flaws of HB 1043, he would encourage Hickenlooper to veto the bill, "because the negatives are worse than the positive aspects."

Page down to read Corry's letter to Hickenlooper.



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8 comments
High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Proud Amendment 20 caregiver here who will never register with the Department of Revenue Pot Clowns.  Catch me if you can bastards!

Guest
Guest

Mr. Corry: Fewer letters; more lawsuits.

Robert
Robert

Please correct the following statement:  "Now, Corry's written to Hick again, this time to offer expert analysis on HB 1043, a bill to clean-up aspects of last year's MMJ regulatory package"; this should read:  "Now, Corry's written to Hick again, this time to offer expert analysis on HB 1043, a bill requiring caregivers to register where they grow cannabis with the DOR".  Private caregiving should be much safer than retail sales of cannabis, but the unholy alliance between Prohibitionists and putatively progressive Democrats in the General Assembly is determined to contradict our Constitution.

Colorado Mmj Patient
Colorado Mmj Patient

It is nice to see Corry talking about the caregiver aspect of the bill, which is the worst part in my opinion.  I don't know anyone that is going to register, and I do not encourage them to register.  Stick to amendment 20 strictly, but you may have to prove yourself in court.  It will be interesting to see if the Hick signs the bill after the response from the federal government.  Stay aware of the laws people and be prepared.

Hickenlooper must go!!!!
Hickenlooper must go!!!!

Yes respect the Amendment 20 as it was written and voted on from the people to the people not from the people to help law enforcement criminalize patients nor people

Hickenlooper must go!!!!
Hickenlooper must go!!!!

Yes more law suits few words those words have done little to nothing it's time for action our must the patients start reading the Constitutional laws and beat the state a lone .

Hickenlooper must go!!!
Hickenlooper must go!!!

You are correct this is unconstitutional and pretty much says A-20 is dead this jackass Hickenlooper and State are worried about there own asses ? imagine that when the shoe is on the other foot but the moron didn't target big producers like MMC/Big warehouses instead he targets small caregivers which are written on A-20 and feels he has the right to change our constitution without our say I say he needs to be out as soon as possible .I for one don't know 1 caregiver which will sign that unjust database and you all shouldn't unless you wanna revoke your rights and your patients rights don't be fools the state will have to prove that have all rights to violate A-20 and they sure can't prove that now can they .

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Interesting post, Patient. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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