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Medical marijuana fundraiser in Denver aims to fight proposed Fort Collins MMC ban, ignorance

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Organic Alternatives
In July, a group called Concerned Fort Collins Citizens petitioned the city to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries, and their effort was a success. Now, voters will be asked to approve a ban on November 1 -- and to help fight this effort, Citizens For Safer Neighborhoods is staging a fundraiser in Denver tonight with the goal of educating members of the industry and the public at large about the damage an electoral loss could do.

"Fort Collins is a battleground," says Steve Ackerman, president of the Fort Collins Medical Cannabis Association. "There are twenty medical marijuana centers that operate in Fort Collins, and if they're banned, it will encourage people in other cities to mount similar campaigns. So we really need to stop it here."

Doing so will be a challenge, especially given the approach taken by pro-ban forces. "It's really easy for our opposition to come out and say, 'We're saving the children' and 'We're trying to cut down on crime in our city' -- which is using scare tactics," he allows. Moreover, "a medical marijuana patient, by coming out, is jeopardizing his job, or his spouse's job, or potentially custody of their children. It could go that far. But to come out against dispensaries, you can make yourself look righteous."

Ackerman plans to counter such claims with "facts and education," focusing on the many individuals who'll be harmed if the measure passes -- and not just in Fort Collins, but also in nearby communities such as Windsor, which has already banned MMCs.

"There are around 15,000 patients in northern Colorado -- 10,000 in Larimer County, with about half of them in the City of Fort Collins," he estimates. "And in the absence of medical marijuana centers, they'll have two options. The first is that there will be an increase in the number of grows to support the patients -- and in Fort Collins, there would probably have to be 1,500 additional grow operations to handle the volume. By necessity, they'd be in a residential locations. And the other option would be for patients to have to leave our community."

In addition, "because of the regulated set-up that came with HB 1284," the main piece of legislation governing the medical marijuana industry in Colorado, "people making the edible form of marijuana have to have an infused-product license. Because of that, edible products couldn't be sold in Fort Collins at all. And marijuana in its raw form would not be available in a regulated environment, in commercially zoned locations that have to meet ADA regulations for access, that don't have to meet the safety codes requiring the medicine to be locked in bank-grade safes at night, with security and alarm and camera-surveillance systems. And there'll be no way to make sure those grows aren't diverted to the black market, which is bound to happen."

To help get this message to the public, Ackerman believes members of the industry throughout the state, including in Denver, need to step up not just in terms of moral support, but also with dollars and cents. "As in any election, our success will depend on resources -- and that includes money," he says. "We'll take any volunteers we can get who want to help. But we also need to be able to have enough money to get our message out."

Tonight's event gets underway at 7 p.m. at the Industry Lounge, 2046 Arapahoe Street. Click here for more information.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana: Is cancer patient Bob Crouse being prosecuted over paperwork snafu?"

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8 comments
Robert Chase
Robert Chase

C.R.S. 12-43.3-103 (2) (a)  PRIOR TO JULY 1, 2011, A COUNTY, CITY AND COUNTY, ORMUNICIPALITY MAY ADOPT AND ENFORCE A RESOLUTION OR ORDINANCELICENSING, REGULATING, OR PROHIBITING THE CULTIVATION OR SALE OFMEDICAL MARIJUANA.

-- what precisely is the reason that citizens, town councils, and reporters think that they can ignore the Law?  Is it because the subject is cannabis?

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

"Ackerman believes members of the industry throughout the state, including in Denver, need to step up not just in terms of moral support, but also with dollars and cents."  Yea right, don't you dispensary owners have the $ to fight for your own rights? Your own battles?  WTF?

"The first is that there will be an increase in the number of grows to support the patients -- and in Fort Collins, there would probably have to be 1,500 additional grow operations to handle the volume."  Why would 21 closing dispensaries = 1500 grow operations? 

You asked for your rules dispensary douche and now you got em and you ain't getting support from any patients and caregivers.  I hope the ban goes through and it's back to the patient - caregiver model and you dispensary clowns disappear forever!

What you propose is even more ignorant than the prohibitionist saying it harms children! "And there'll be no way to make sure those grows aren't diverted to the black market, which is bound to happen." What black market are you talking about? Is that a racist comment or can white people be in the black market too?

outspoken2
outspoken2

Thanks for your post about medical marijuana law. However, this is about an election, "what precisely is the reason" you don't understant that.  Don't get lost on the fact that it can happen in ANY jurisdiction in the state.  This is the slippery slope of the "local option" of HB1284 that Ritter insisted on, before signing the bill.  Just because you are in a community that might see favorable for this industry currently, it can and will happen all over the state.  Take away patients rights, take away safe access, take away revenue, take away the constitution and we are truly in troubled times.

Awesomexinfinity
Awesomexinfinity

Had you attended the fundraiser last night, you might have had a greater sense of the unity our industry so desperately needs.  You might also have some semblance of an idea about how much it *costs* to run a successful campaign of this nature.

Consider this an open invitation to get off your high horse and think of patients before your own clawing ego.  There plenty of room for sensible people here, and little tolerance for ignorance and infighting.

justsayin
justsayin

I think he got the 1,500 grows from the fact that there are 15,000 patients in larimer county. If you grow as well as you read and comprehend then I sure am glad I buy my medicine at a dispensary and not from you

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Rather missing the point aren't you?  Any action by any local authority to hold such an election is itself a violation of C.R.S.12-43.3-103 (2) (a).  I testified against HB10-1284 every time it was considered in committee because it attacks caregivers and is unconstitutional, but if you accept the Law (as all dispensaries that remain open did), it behooves you to at least make the case in court that having failed to ban such businesses before July 1, it is now illegal to do so (because it is).  I fully support canvassing to educate voters in Ft. Collins, irrespective of whether or not the election is ruled invalid, but all such petitions and local authorities' certification of elections should be being challenged in court first.

Robert ChaseColorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers(720) 213-6497

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Thanks for doing the math, justsayin. Much appreciated.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

hugh?  I read fine and grow kind!  Technically if you're not a dispensary you can only grow 30 plants max, so it would actually be 5000 grows which In my opinion Ft. Collins already has.  The dispensary dude has a weak fear mongering argument at best with saying that without him and the dispensaries there will be neighborhood grows as if there aren't already.

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