Medical marijuana: Reverend Brandon Baker challenges state MMJ laws in Federal court
The Reverend Brandon Baker, who's with the ganja-based Greenfaith Ministry, has a lot of titles.
Rev. Brandon Baker.
He's a farmer, a father, an activist, a religious leader -- and now a self-professed legal scholar who says he's found a way to end Colorado's medical marijuana regulations, which he says violate patient privacy.
For the last year or so, Baker says, he's been scanning law books, looking for a way to challenge the state medical marijuana regs passed over the last two years; he believes they've created a state-run regulatory scheme that incriminates all patients in federal marijuana crimes. And last month, he filed a motion to overturn the laws in federal court.
Baker argues that state laws requiring dispensaries to keep patient records and maintain live feeds of security cameras for Colorado's Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division will eventually lead to patients being arrested by federal law-enforcement officials. His suit also argues that the state government can't collect any revenue or application money from a federally illegal industry.
"This is a facial challenge," he explains. "I'm not challenging marijuana, I'm challenging the Fifth Amendment. I'm going to have them toss the dispensary laws and have them rewrite them all with privacy for the patients."
Baker is also a part of a similar lawsuit at the state level demanding that the state's MMJ laws be thrown out; it was filed by activist Kathleen Chippi. But while he acknowledges that the two suits essentially seek the same outcome, he says they don't overlap.
And he also wants to make it clear he isn't attacking Colorado's constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana, passed by voters in 2000 -- just the new laws put in place by the Colorado Legislature with the passing of HB 1284 last year.
"It's more exploratory than anything else," he says of his attempt to get the federal court to hear the case. "I mainly want an answer. I want to see what the reply and theory and thinking is on it. I pretty much combined all of [Chippi's] arguments into this as well. I'm not going to fuck shit up for everyone else -- I promise."
Click over to the next page for text of Baker's challenge.