Marijuana: Could Los Angeles-style dispensary closures happen in Denver?

Categories: Marijuana

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Yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to ban medical marijuana dispensaries -- a decision that's expected to shutter more than 700 businesses.

Could something like that happen in Denver? Attorney and longtime marijuana advocate Brian Vicente doubts it, but he doesn't reject the possibility.

"A threat to safe access anywhere is a threat to safe access everywhere," Vicente says.

The L.A. action appears to have been driven by concern over the proliferation of dispensaries in the city, with Councilman Paul Krekorian saying they outnumber Starbucks outlets by a two-to-one margin, according to the Los Angeles Times article linked above. And while a California Supreme Court ruling could determine whether cities can regulate and/or ban retail operations, a case clarifying the controversy isn't expected to be heard for quite a while -- perhaps more than a year.

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The bud bar of Organic Alternatives, which was closed in February under Fort Collins' dispensary ban.
The lack of clear guidelines in California, whose initiative approving medical marijuana dates back to 1996, represents a clear contrast with Colorado, Vicente believes. Statewide regs are in place here and communities are able to ban dispensaries under them. Of course, this last option creates complications of its own: Witness Fort Collins, whose residents are being asked this November to allow medical marijuana centers less than a year after MMCs were shuttered after a dispensary ban. But the legal structure is very different from the sort of free-for-all atmosphere that's drawn so much federal scrutiny in California, Vicente believes.

"I think the fact that Colorado has a very clear and very strict set of statewide rules these medical marijuana businesses need to comply by really sends a message to our community that these guys are playing by the rules," he says. "In places like California, it's really a patchwork quilt of regulations. Some communities have strict regulations, some have lax regulations, and they don't really have a state standard that they can stand by and uphold."

Page down to read more about the Los Angeles dispensary ban and its potential repercussions in Colorado.

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Vote YES on A64!  Show the world that we are not afraid to change the laws for the better.  Unlike MMJIQ, a shill for the alcohol lobby, I am a user and patient.  HB10-1284 was a great step for Colorado and the results are an increased tax base and dropping retail prices as the black market is finally banished from the industry.  If you like seeing prices drop and you prefer buying your marijuana in a safe retail store then you need to vote YES ON A 64!


Good article. It's a sad day for all the patients and owners in Cali.


It should be taken as a warning to all of our MMJ friends in Colorado.  If you are a caregiver, a center owner or a patient - don’t' drink the Kool-Aid.


Amendment 64 (regulate like alcohol) has the potential to have the exact same effect in Colorado. We don't need a genie in a lamp to tell us the future, look at California.

Action produces reaction. The feds, the courts, and the majority of city councils across America are not ready for full legalization (yet.)


I respect Brian and have spoken with him on several occasions. BUT - many industry leaders in Colorado fear that Amendment 64 will simply lead the feds and local authorities to shut down ALL MMJ (recreational and medical) in Colorado.


How much does it take to shut down a medical marijuana center? 


44 cents.  Yep, just one letter from an AG, a DA or local authority and everything these Americans have built can be taken overnight (last time they gave us 45 days, how nice.)


I support decriminalization, I support medical marijuana, but the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” efforts in Colorado may produce a legislative victory (yea, we won!) - only to lead to a total banning across the State overnight (oh shite, we’re out of business.)


>>Vicente feels that "in Denver and many communities around Colorado, medical marijuana businesses have become ingrained parts of the community. They're paying taxes and providing medicine for sick patients. And I think there's a degree of political and business savvy that business owners in Colorado have shown that business owners in L.A. maybe didn't show -- and hopefully, that can lead to their long-term survival."<<


Really? How much more ingrained can one be? How much more savvy?


850 hard-working family-owned centers in Cali may be forced to close within 40 day. Just like that. Cali was ingrained. Cali was savvy.


With one simple vote from a city council – and an industry that stood for over 10 years came crashing down.


Medical Marijuana in Colorado has boomed since 2009. It is still growing and needs time to mature (most of us are still waiting for licenses to hang on our walls.)


Brian, I respect you. I support legalization (but not now.) Supporting Amendment 64 may lead to a total collapse of what has just begun to mature in Colorado.


Support decriminalization. Support medical marijuana. Support patients access. Vote 'no' on Amendment 64. @MMJIQ 


DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Denial -- ain't just a river in Egypt ... it's the stoner's only defense against uncomfortable reality.


Of course it can happen here in Colorado! -- HB1284 explicitly ALLOWS municipalities to BAN DISPENSARIES ENTIRELY !!


Only a daft deceptive doofus like Brian Vicente would attempt to claim or imply otherwise.




More lies from shyster pimp Vicente.


Donkey? did you have to do an erand for you mom today?


 @MMJIQ Um, your logic doesn't follow shill:


"Support decriminalization. Support medical marijuana. Support patients access." If you believe in these things you need to VOTE YES on A 64!


 @DonkeyHotay And that process works perfectly, marijuana is banned in a number of Colorado cities and counties.  Even with a vote by the council there is ZERO chance that the dispensaries will be leaving LA.  


Stop the red herrings, vote YES on A64!


DH, i see you around. You're active. Involved. I like that.


But BV is not a doof. He's rather smart, but his motives may be focused more on a legislative victory and less on the reality for growers, patients, doctors, and centers.


I do find the ads run by the amendment 64 regulate like alcohol a bit deceptive; that i agree.


The ads talk about regulating marijuana; MMJ already is highly regulated (HB1284 and more.)


The ads talk about keeping felons out of the industry; they already are (by C.R.S.)


The ads talk about taxing (at even a higher rate!); MMJ already is taxed by both State and local authorities.


Yes, deception may be a part of lobbying and law school, but BV is no fool.


Protect patients, growers and centers: vote NO on Amendment 64 in Colorado.


We were told HB1284 would work and fix and provide stability.  Now, we're suppose to support another change? Another set of laws?  More city council debates?


If Amend 64 passes, it could ruin ALL marijuana operations in Colorado.


See what happend in California?  1 vote, 1 city council and 850 centers in LA may be forced to close in 40 days.


 @JustWait He has no mom.  Shills enter the world and leave the world alone.



name calling in the 1st sentence? neither civil or logical if one has a point to make.


insults and accusations are often used to defend a stance that may be, how should i say, unreasoned?


i too support decriminalization. i too support mmj.


but A64 is not about that is it?


A64 is about recreational use.


in a perfect world, A64 would make sense. we are not in a perfect world.

mmj in Colorado is revolutionary. i will remain a Colorado MMJ revolutionary.


Colorado has the potential to prove that communities, patients, caregivers, growers, and center owners can provide safe and affordable access to high quality mmj.


did you not see what happened in Cali? did you not see the federal raids?


protect MMJ. protect Colorado. protect patients. vote NO on A64.


 @IcePick IP, works perfectly? yes, mmj is banned in a large number of municipalties in Colorado.  I wouldn't call that perfect though.


ZERO?  That's a bold prediction.  I hope you are right; however, history has shown otherwise.

RobertChase topcommenter

 @MMJIQ "DH, i see you around. You're active. Involved. I like that." -- Donkey is a determinedly anonymous Internet poster; is that what you mean?  Do you think that posting here makes Donkey active or involved with ending Prohibition?  You need to get out more yourself.  Come up and introduce yourself at the next hearing.


 @MMJIQ MMJIQ is a SHILL for the Alcohol Lobby.


 @IcePick i would read it but, according to you i can neither read nor research.


if you would like to discuss the issues, i'm in. but if you simply want to brash, crash and insult then your opinion becomes muted by silly insults and accusations.


RC, thanks for at least keeping it civil. but to assume that someone is something amazes me.


i have worked with over 2,000 patients. defended patients and centers at local, county and state. helped defeat prop 1A in El Paso county.


i am out every day helping patients, centers and caregivers.


A64 has little to do with helping patients, centers or caregivers.


A64 creates another level of State bureaucracy, new laws, and opens the door for licensed recreational pot shops.


While i favor decriminalization, A64 is a great idea that will likely destroy the medical marijuana industry, enrage local officials, reopened the debates about banning centers, and so much more.


A64 is Pandora’s box. Amendment 20 is the gold standard and needs to be protected.


Protect Amendment 20, patients, growers, caregivers, and centers - vote NO on A64.


most patients including myself, support ending prohibition.


however, experience has shown that legalization will NOT be tolorated by the FEDS, AGs, and DAs in Cali or Colorado.


Just last week, after over 10 years of succesfful marijuana centers - the city council of LA got feed up and voted to close up to 850 dispensaries within 40 days.  just like that.


To say that A64 has nothing to do with MMJ is a half-truth.


A64 creates a market for recreational marijuana. 


That would be fine if America, the FEDS, the AGs, DAs, and SCOTUS were ready for it - but they are not.


In just the last 90 days, over 54 centers have been forced to close in Colorado after seizure letters were sent to their landlords.


All the time, the money, the employees, the patients - gone.


For the cost of a 44 cent stamp, any center can be layed to waste by a letter from the FEDs.  1 letter is all it takes to ruin an American family business.


If supporting A64 means a bigger crackdown on Colorado's MMJ industry - i (and many others) can not support it.


A64 would have a disastorous effect on the MMJ industry as we know it.


i hope i'm wrong, RC - but experience shows otherwise.

RobertChase topcommenter

 @MMJIQ Most patients in Colorado support ending Prohibition entirely.  Experience has shown that patients and caregivers will never be secure as long as our irrational laws against cannabis remain.  Amendment 64 has nothing to do with medical cannabis, and it will only reduce criminal liability for cannabis, but to declare it not unlawful to carry an ounce of cannabis in public and to grow up to six cannabis plants, (no more than three flowering) is a revolutionary improvement in the State's criminal law for people who use cannabis, for whatever reasons they choose to do so.


Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers supports Amendment 64!



do you read a post before you comment?


your turn, call me a's funnier everytime.


actually, after reading your post it obvious.


you don't argue - you make accusations and call people names.


i dedicate the next song to IP, a funky revolutionary band from the 60's, 'War' and play 'why can't we be friends.'


this is MMJIQ, signing off & wishing all mmj users a safe and respectful debate.


IcePick. IP, i have no idea who you are or DH, and it doesn't matter to me.


what matters to me is the great American experiment that is Colorado's medical marijuana industry.


would you like to talk the politics of A64? nicknames, or rant and making accusations? Shill? how funny.


i am a supporter of mmj. not your enemy. i do not support A64. it is bill built by lobbyist, for lobbyist. it is not designed for the mmj patients, doctors, dispensaries and caregivers.


if A64 wins and all over Colorado shops open up for recreational use, it may begin as a short lived legislative victory that ends in the collapse of both medical and recreational use in Colorado.


that is what i care about. not nicknames, not insults, not silly accusations or preferences for spacing of paragraphs.


as i said, i hope i'm wrong. but history and a simple look at the industry shows that all it takes is a 44 cent stamp to shut down a hard-working medical marijuana family business.


i hope i'm wrong, IP. but if one looks at Cali and Colorado, the recent federal raids, the recent banning of centers (patients, growers, caregivers) it is logical to foresee legalization efforts backfiring and leading to total bans.


vote NO on A64. protect patients, growers, caregivers and dispensaries. protect Colorado.



 you don't like the 'return key' either? this is silly.


i happen to enjoy using the return key.  capitilization for nouns and pronouns?  now, that's another thing.  seems a bother to me.



 so much for keeping it civil.  i tried.



 @MMJIQ Besides, you meant LIBEL not SLANDER.  If you don't stop putting all the carriage returns between each sentence somebody is going to accuse you of being ANOTHER personality of Donkey Hotay aka 


 @MMJIQ Slander an internet nickname?  WOW!  Yes, you are a shill.  You come here with this OBVIOUS MMJ nickname and claim to not know who Donkey Hotay is... clearly you are a shill.  VOTE YES ON A64, It is good for the children of Colorado!


Stop the lies.



 it amazes me how fast things turn into name calling on these comment threads.  but here we go.


IP, a 'shill'? that's so clever, i had to look it up.


you don't know me, yet call me a stooge for alcohol lobby?


that's actually funny, i don't drink. i grow my own vegetables, and am a patient and mmj activist (not a lobbyist, silly.)


we may disagree, but to call names from an anonomyous online chat thread is a bit unkind, don't you think?


presumptions can lead to faulty accusations.


let's keep this civil, if we can. or slander me again.  it's up to you.

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