Medical marijuana: CO Supreme Court ruling leaves patients unprotected, plaintiffs say

Last year, marijuana activists asked the Colorado Supreme Court to hear the appeal of a precedent-setting case involving MMJ patient Jason Beinor, who was fired from his job for failing a drug test. Now, by a 3-2 vote, the Supremes have declined to take up the matter -- a decision the plaintiffs see as devastating for patients' rights.

In lieu of an interview about the court's decision -- technically, the petition for a writ of certiorari was denied -- Kathleen Chippi and Rico Colibri, who funded the appeal through Cannabis Alliance for Regulation and Education (CARE), issued a joint statement. "The Colorado Supreme Court continues to frustrate the will of the people by refusing to make a final decision on state medical marijuana rights, a decision that will ultimately have to be made," they write. "The denials are another tragic blow to medical marijuana patients."

They add that "patients now have no protections from losing their jobs, unemployment benefits, occupational licenses, fire arms, school grants, government aid, housing, insurance and/or child custody over their use of medical marijuana."

As we've reported, Beinor was employed by Service Group Inc. to sweep the 16th Street Mall. However, he was fired after failing a random drug test, even though he's a legal patient.

Thumbnail image for kathleen chippi photo.jpg
Kathleen Chippi.
Afterward, Beinor filed for unemployment benefits, and a hearing officer eventually ruled in his favor because there was "no reliable evidence to suggest that...claimant was not eligible for a medical marijuana license" or that his use of marijuana negatively impacted his job performance. But his employer appealed the decision, and a panel ruled in the company's favor, citing Article XVIII of the Colorado constitution, which states that an employee who tests positive during working hours for "controlled substances" that are "not medically prescribed" doesn't qualify for benefits. The Colorado Court of Appeals concurred by a 2-1 margin, with the majority finding that patients don't have carte blanche to violate firms' policies and practices.

Beinor, who represented himself in the case, doubted that the ruling would have significant repercussions. But shortly thereafter, the decision was mentioned by town attorneys while successfully defending Longmont's medical-marijuana-retail-business ban. And Chippi, who's also challenged HB 1284 and SB 109, the state laws put in place to regulate the MMJ industry, believes the answer to her suit submitted under the auspices of Attorney General John Suthers -- namely, that there is no fundamental right to medical marijuana in Colorado, despite a constitutional amendment permitting its use by patients -- is built upon the Beinor ruling.

Developments like these explain why Chippi talked Beinor into appealing the decision, and why her Patient Caregivers Rights Litigation Project, in conjunction with CARE, paid attorney Andrew Reid to petition the Colorado Supreme Court to look at the Colorado Court of Appeals' conclusions.

But no: As Reid points out via e-mail, Chief Justice Michael L. Bender and Justice Monica M. Márquez wanted to hear Beinor and another case rejected by the Colorado Court of Appeals -- that one involving Leonard Charles Watkins, a patient denied the right to use medical marijuana while on probation. But three of their colleagues on the court turned thumbs down, squashing such a prospect.

In the view of Chippi and Colibri, the Watkins rejection could have an even more detrimental impact on MMJ patients than does the Beinor turn-down. Why?

Page down to continue reading about the Watkins case and see the court documents.


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130 comments
Ohiooutlaw69
Ohiooutlaw69

We must unite as one and stop the turmoil

Faycless
Faycless

Sooo, how many people ARE arrested annually (in Co.) for possession of one oz or less?

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

ATTENTION, ALL PATIENTS AND CAREGIVERS IN COLORADO:

THE MEETING BETWEEN THE CDPHE & CBI TO DISCUSS AN ILLEGAL DATABASE OF PATIENTS TAKES PLACE TOMORROW, TUESDAY, JUNE 5 AT 1:00PM AT 710 KIPLING STREET, SUITE 303 (THE RE-MAX BUILDING FACING KIPLING, ON THE THIRD FLOOR).

BE THERE!

Rico Colibri
Rico Colibri

Consel not consul (iPhone auto complete) Michael should investigate how these rulings affect amendment 64 and how the campaigns use of "liker alcohol" is not only misleading and intentionally confusing to the voters but unlawful under colorado law 1-13-190 C.R.S. The campaign will never admit what danger these rulings now place all responsible adult cannabis users in and is completely unethical in suggesting other wise. But I suspect no journalist will cover the truth as it would interfere with advertisement profits from the amendment 64 campaign. At one point in time the news acting as a counter balance to keep the public fully informed. I salute the amendment 64 campaign's ability to distort the truth all to the benefit of a few who are behind the language bravo!

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Behold the abject LIES and deliberate DISTORTIONS directly from the nonSENSIBLE www site --

This November Coloradans will have the chance to pass Amendment 64– which will make Colorado the first place on the planet to regulate marijuana like alcohol!

Sensible Colorado has been a leading partner in this effort from the beginning, so join us and pledge to make history HERE.

Amendment 64, otherwise known as the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, makes personal adult use of marijuana legal, establishes a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol, and allows for the cultivation of industrial hemp.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

So I posted the law crs-1-13-109 above but it was from

http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir...

--where it shows what got subtracted and added--put when I pasted it it did not copy the way it should now read---  Above link explains what the law now really says.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

 What happened to the 40 million to schools promise ( 'misrepresentation')? 

Did they realize it's illegal to excise tax federally illegal substances? 

Did they realize they were promising something that will not happen without a totally different vote of the people sometime --maybe around 2017?  

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

 "You like to focus on all the irrelevant provisions of Amendment 64." Tell that to the title board.  It (irrelevant provision) somehow wound up in their ballot title. 

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Aha!  Another criminal charge laid against proponents (in your head).

The campaign alludes to taxes which would have to be enacted by the General Assembly pursuant to subsequent approval by the voters -- do you suppose that backers of the Amendment are subject to a requuirement to explain the operation of TABOR with respect to the implementation of the Amendment or every legal detail when they summarize its effects?

The provision earmarking taxes for school construction is still in there of course -- just one more of those that can have no effect as long as Federal Prohibition remains in effect and general retail sales to adults remain impossible.  You like to focus on all the irrelevant provisions of Amendment 64.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

There inarguably are some similarities in Amendment 64's proposed regulation of cannabis and our existing regulation of alcohol (e.g. local approval and DOR regulation of sellers and sales).  One can certainly dispute the aptness of the comparison, and proponents conceded to its removal from Amendment 64's title, but to insist, as you and Kathleen have done, that making the comparison amounts to a violation of the law is absurd.  The phrase obsessing you two is not in the title of the Amendment, and voters can read the text for themselves.

Those who understand the legal lay of the land know that this is not about hemp or retail sales, which the Feds will not allow; it is about whether to legalize the use of cannabis in a limited way.  Not prosecuting people who grow 1-6 plants for their own use will prevent many felony convictions for cannabis, and that is why you should support Amendment 64.  For my part, I am abundantly aware of the Amendment's limitations, and I will continue to fight to end Prohibition regardless of its outcome.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

 

Concerning the election offense of making falsestatementsdesigned to affect the vote as proscribed by section 1-13-109,Colorado Revised Statutes.

Be it enacted by the GeneralAssembly of the State of Colorado:

 

  SECTION 1.  1-13-109, Colorado Revised Statutes, isamended to read:

 

  1-13-109.  False statements relating to candidates or questionssubmitted to electors - penalties - definitions. (1) (a)  No personshallknowingly make, publish, broadcast, orcirculate or cause to be made,published, broadcasted, or circulated in anyletter, circular, advertisement,or poster or in any other writing communication any false statementdesigned to affect the vote on any issue submitted to the electors at anyelection or relating to any candidate for election to public office.

 

  (2) (b)  Any person who knowingly violates any provision of paragraph(a) of this section subsection (1) commits a class 2 class 1misdemeanorand, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as provided in section18-1.3-501, C.R.S.

 

  (2) (a)  No person shall recklessly make, publish, broadcast, orcirculate or cause to be made, published, broadcasted, orcirculated in any letter, circular, advertisement, or poster or inany other communication any false statement designed to affectthe vote on any issue submitted to the electors at any election orrelating to any candidate for election to public office. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, for purposes of thissubsection (2), a person acts "recklessly" when he or she acts inconscious disregard of the truth or falsity of the statementmade, published, broadcasted, or circulated.

 

  (b)  Any person who violates any provision of paragraph (a) ofthis subsection (2) commits a class 2 misdemeanor and, uponconviction thereof, shall be punished as provided in section18-1.3-501, C.R.S.

 

  (3)  For purposes of this section, "person" means any naturalperson, partnership, committee, association, corporation, labororganization, political party, or other organization or group ofpersons, including a group organized under section 527 of theinternal revenue code.

 

  SECTION 2.  Effectivedate - applicability. (1)  This act shall take effectSeptember 1, 2005.

 

  (2)  However, if a referendum petition isfiled against this act or an item,section, or part of this act during the 90-day period after final adjournment ofthe general assembly that is allowed for submitting a referendum petitionpursuant to article V, section 1 (3) of the state constitution, then the act, item,section, or part, shall not take effect unless approved by the people at abiennial regular general election and shall take effect on the date specified insubsection (1) or on the date of the official declaration of the vote thereon byproclamation of the governor, whichever is later.

 

  (3)  The provisions of this act shall applyto offenses committed on or afterthe applicable effective date of this act.

 

Approved: June6, 2005

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You are indeed talking to yourself; I just pointed out, yet again, specific similarities between Amendment 64's proposed regulation of cannabis and existing regulation of alcohol -- you are still savoring your fantasy of having the proponents charged with a criminal offense for saying what is demonstrably true!

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"Not prosecuting people who grow 1-6 plants for their own use will prevent many felony convictions for cannabis"

How many, exactly ?

Rico Colibri
Rico Colibri

Josh I have emails from my attorney to Sensible of which you are copied in, the NY ACLU attorneys cannot appeal a Colorado case without using a local group of attorneys and you were among those attorneys. Additionally when Sensible does not address the part of the ruling that included preemption you are in effect conceding to federal preemption and our attorney who is a law professor and has been in practice for 35 years explained that to Sensible. You do know Josh this is libel if you have an issue use your full name and we can address it on public radio, bring Brian and I ll bring my attorney and we can all discuss what you think Sensible was doing tanking the Watkins case and how it affects MMJ patients and amendment 64 for that matter. I expect you won't post with your full name as you know I will take it up with the attorney regulation consul.

Josh
Josh

Westword please fact check this statement is incorrect -- "The Watkins appeal made by Sensible Colorado actually conceded to the federal preemption ruling up front and addressed only a patients right to use medical marijuana while on probation." The appeal was made by the ACLU and its incorrect to say that they "conceded" the federal preemption issue because  no briefs were written by the ACLU. More divisiveness being spread by Rico and CARE.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

 Wow, Josh--shocking comment. 

Watkins was based mostly on federal preemption (approx 75%) and then Beinor (approx. 25%)--you know if you only appeal the Beinor part---the Fed preemption ruling/impact does not change.   If the Supreme Court had decided to hear Watkins --fed preemption would have remained the accepted --UN-argued--law of Colorado. 

To now claim that Brian and yourself and Sensible had nothing to do with it now is simply amazing.  

Just who, exactly, got in touch with Mr. Watkins to even accomplish the appeal? 

And if your asking Michael Roberts to look into it---please give him the info he needs---it wasn't the ACLU (national) or even Colorado ACLU, Robert, it was the NY ACLU.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

That ruling from the CO Supreme Court would have brought HARM to MMJ patients NATION WIDE!

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Josh Kappel ? ... who's only been a lawyer for a few months?

... from Brian Vicente's office, home of nonSENSIBLE, the perfidious pimps promoting the pretentious A64 ??

LOL!

Anthony Taurus
Anthony Taurus

Didn't medical marijuana in CO come by way of a referendum? Why don't they have another referendum to define patients' rights instead of hoping a judge would do it for them. Remember, the judge can't create law. All he can do is uphold what's there. If there is no law protecting the rights of medical marijuana users, then what law does he have to uphold. As it stands, it's legal to fire people for marijuana use. So, the voters need to go back and get this one out of the way.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

The "Fix it Later" Brigade is still trying to muster enough troops and $$ to clarify what should have been properly phrased back in 2000.

Donations of materiel and support can be sent to:

Lilliputian Army HeadquartersSgt. Robert Chase, base commander and chaplainBaby Steps BrigadeLittle Freedom BattalionClown CompanyPot PlatoonF Troop

Wonderin Wanderin78
Wonderin Wanderin78

What kind of army has a strategy of appeasing their supposed enemy (law enforcement) at the expense of their god-given rights?

What do you call this phenomenon? Politics of Surrender? Ship of Fools?

Or is it just greed?

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"There is no such thing as part freedom." -- Nelson Mandela

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Donkey may be an agent of the police, and you may be utterly clueless.  Voters can vote to legalize the cultivation of a little cannabis and its use on November 6, or not.  If you use cannabis and vote against even its limited legalization, how much of a tool are you?

The fantasy that people who use cannabis are in political control is refuted by the fact of Prohibition.  I have signed all three petitions extant for initiatives to reform our laws against cannabis this election, but only one of them will be on the ballot.  If Amendment 64 fails, it will fail because most voters do not yet support any right of adults (not patients) to use cannabis, not because a relative handful of freely self-deluding people who use cannabis vote to keep cannabis completely illegal.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

How'd that appeasement strategy work out for Neville Chamberlain ?

Clifford
Clifford

my friend'sstep-aunt makes $67 an hour on the computer. She has been out of work for 8months but last month her income was $15553 just working on the computer for afew hours. Go to this web site and read more

www.LazyCash31.com

copy the linkinto browser 

Sciencefreak
Sciencefreak

Read the book "Marijuana Gateway to Health: How Cannabis Protects Us from Cancer and Alzheimer's Disease" and get mad at the double standards that allow any adult to buy a brain damaging product that is highly carcinogenic, alcohol, but not a plant that has anti-tumor and brain protective properties.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Science is wonderful, but considering that the American People and the corporate media are scientifically illiterate, it is politics we need to study.

Getting mad may be prerequisite to involvement, but what we need are poltically savvy people working hard together to end Prohibition.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"considering that the American People and the corporate media are scientifically illiterate"

Awww ... and who's fault is that?

Do you honestly think that getting stoned helps mitigate that intellectual deficit ?

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Do you really believe that people who use cannabis are the cause of scientific illiteracy in America?

ST
ST

Obama will save us - - LOL

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

He says his use of cannabis was a mistake -- if so, it was a mistake without significant negative consequences for him, and the guy who was grabbing for the joint while yelling "Interception!" now does nothing to stop the criminalization of those who use cannabis.

See:  http://control.mpp.org/site/R?... -- miserable hypocrite!

Michelle LaMay
Michelle LaMay

right |2 a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way: she had every right to be angry | you're quite within your rights to ask for your money back | there is no right of appeal against the decision. "To have or obtain" cannabis is to be in possession of a certain amount. In Colorado, more than 2ozs is a felony with all its ensuing social and fiscal cost to the taxpayers for what is arguably "a plant." No possession, no crime. The "right" to possess ANYTHING is implied, barring laws that prohibit possession of ANYTHING. Michelle LaMay, Proponent #1 303-886-7998 http://www.relief4possession.w... http://www.facebook.com/groups... relief4possession@gmail.com

Michelle LaMay
Michelle LaMay

right |2 a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way:  she had every right to be angry | you're quite within your rights to ask for your money back | there is no right of appeal against the decision. "To have or obtain" cannabis is to be in possession of a certain amount. In Colorado, more than 2ozs is a felony with all its ensuing social and fiscal cost to the taxpayers for what is arguably "a plant." The "right" to possess ANYTHING is implied, barring laws that prohibit possession of ANYTHING. To protect a "right" is to allow possession [of cannabis].  Michelle LaMay, Proponent #1303-886-7998http://www.relief4possession.w...http://www.facebook.com/groups...relief4possession@gmail.com

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Kathleen Chippi = guaranteed loss in court

No courts, cops, or worthy employer is ever going to say it's 'ok to smoke pot' so freaking give it up already. Medical marijuana has long since been dead in Colorado.

Now, can't we all just get high and have fun?

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Maybe you and Sailor should get together for a study group---I have NOT been in court for MMJ ever. 

And if we all "give it up already" how do we "legalize like tomatoes" as you say?

High Country Caregiver = Brain Cells Deficient

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Your attitude may be a greater impediment to ending Prohibition than all the parasites making their living off it.

guest
guest

 Well where is Donkey at making comments how does the foot taste

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

-- busy trying to further confuse the confused on another thread; he'll be here all too soon.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Until it's as legal as tomatoes I'm not making any compromises on the position

JD
JD

 "Take your "baby step" diaper load back to the nursery until you learn how to stand and walk like a man."

...says the coward who does nothing but talk shit anonymously online.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Not as much as you -- at least I am cognizant of butting into an attempted exchange between other posters; you seem to have no qualms at all:  how many times have you leapt to get in a rejoinder to posts I have made responding to others'?

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Nothing whatsoever; he is anonymously taunting law enforcement and waiting to be arrested, but he pipes up because he knows plenty of other cannabis-users know nothing about the law or politics and don't want to know anything about them either.  HCC gives voice to the future victims of Prohibition.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

So what are you doing to make cannabis as "legal as tomatoes", High Country?

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"I would not wish jail on anyone who does not deserve it"

Said the Emperor of Lilliput !

Yet via the deceptive, meaningless turd referred to as A64, you would leave ALL adults aged 18 up to 21 completely exposed to FELONY criminal prosecution and prison if they so much as sprout a single seed!

You would leave all adults over 21 completely exposed to FELONY criminal prosecution and prison if they sprouted seven seeds, or grew as few as 4 (four) producing pot plants.

Take your "baby step" diaper load back to the nursery until you learn how to stand and walk like a man.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

I would not wish jail on anyone who does not deserve it (and especially on people who use drugs), but you are a detriment to the movement -- there is no prospect to legalize cannabis like tomatoes, but plenty of scope to reduce criminal liability for cannabis.  I do wish that all the ignorant, self-obsessed cannabis-users could be in the front of the line of those waiting to be arrested (and considering the general apathy and ignorance in the community, I pretty much have my wish).

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