Medical-marijuana-is-illegal ruling impacts new case, prompts letter to state, federal leaders

marijuana photo cropped.JPG
Last month, we reported about a medical marijuana court case with blockbuster potential -- a ruling by an Arapahoe County District Court judge that state-legal MMJ is still illicit at the federal level, so all contracts pertaining to it are null and void.

This conclusion has inspired a letter to state and federal officials, including the President of the United States, from a fearful plaintiff (read it below) decrying the possible precedent it sets.

As we've reported, the original case involved a medical marijuana grower who asked not to be named and Blue Sky Care Connection, a dispensary in Littleton. The plaintiff in that matter said he delivered approximately $40,000 worth of MMJ between June and October of 2010 without receiving compensation in the form of either cash or what's referred to in the document as "a potential business partnership."

charles m pratt.jpg
Charles M. Pratt.
As such, the grower took Blue Sky to court, with a trial taking place this past April. But in May, rather than weighing in on the basic dispute, Judge Charles M. Pratt ordered the combatants to "file briefs explaining why this Court should not declare the purported contract void as against public policy."

As Pratt acknowledged, neither the plaintiff nor Blue Sky "raised the issue of legality." Rather, "the issue was...raised by the Court" to determine if the contract violated public policy.

This last phrase is as loaded as it is important to the judgment. Going way back to Russell v. Courier Printing & Publ'g Co., a Colorado Supreme Court ruling from 1908, to support his view, Pratt argued that "if the disputed contract violates federal law, it would be against public policy and would be void and unenforceable."

With this matter as a backdrop, Pratt determined that the plaintiff and Blue Sky did indeed enter into a contract, and the dispensary breached it. But to cut through the legalese: If the contract involved something illegal, that didn't matter.

Among his assertions:

• Colorado State Law Does Not Create a Constitutional Right for Citizens to Use and Possess Medical Marijuana.

• Possession and use of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

• Federal law regarding marijuana preempts state law because Colorado state law creates an obstacle to the full enforcement of federal law.

As such, Pratt determined that "contracts for the sale of marijuana are void as they are against public policy. Accordingly, the contract here is void and unenforceable."

The sweeping nature of Pratt's ruling raised an important question: Would attorneys representing defendants in medical-marijuana lawsuits begin arguing that contracts are unenforceable because the federal government considers all pot illegal?

In a related development, Westword was recently contacted by a plaintiff in a current case. The lawyer for this individual, who requested anonymity, is not allowing the client to speak about the specifics of the case, approving only the following statement: "Employees from an MMJ facility are suing the owners for breach of contract. The employees became concerned for their own case when they saw the ruling for the Blue Sky case in Arapahoe County, where Judge Pratt ruled that MMJ was illegal."

These remarks don't offer any specifics about the dispute, and neither do they confirm or deny that attorneys for the defendants are seeking to void a contract using the Pratt-approved argument. But the implication is strong in the following letter, which, according to the plaintiff, was sent to a number of elected officials at the state and federal level, including Governor John Hickenlooper and President Barack Obama.

Continue to read the letter, see comments from the plaintiff and view the Blue Sky ruling.


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30 comments
IcePick
IcePick

This whole issue is silly.  Had the lawyer for the plaintiff had any skill they would have avoided using the word marijuana in the contract.  Using the word "marijuana" in a contract is likely to render that contract null and void and therefore unenforceable.  This is easily avoided by not including the word "marijuana" in the contract to begin with.

 

Yes on A 64, it makes marijuana a non-illegal word!

PR420
PR420

The letter clearly shows the author does not comprehend the law and using the tired Rob Corry racketeering argument is counter productive. @Pete Stores under A64 will not exist until 2014 if at all given the Beinor, Blue Sky rulings gut A64 before it evens passes. The notion the recreational Mj will be treated "like alcohol" is for the deeply illiterate. http://www.youtube.com/user/mmjexchange 

Pete
Pete

If A64 passes, what happens to the MMC business model?  Do they just open the doors to everyone or are they still restricted to only selling to red card holders?

IcePick
IcePick

Vote Yes on 64, it will legalize marijuana for adult use and begin to end thousands of unnecessary arrests each year in Colorado.  It will help fund our failing underfunded schools.  It will help to accelerate the price decline at the retail counter.  It is good for Colorado and it is good for Colorado's medical marijuana patients. No matter what Donkey says... yes on A 64!  The only people who will be hurt by the passage of Amendment 64 are unregulated Drug DEAlers.

orson
orson

The sad thing is that amendment 64 will change none of this.  Marijuana will still be federally illegal.  Marijuana will still be despised by the state and federal government and employers and they'll all keep laughing it off as a joke and it will be easier if A64 passes because the medical word will fade out and everyone will be back to labeling all marijuana users as pot heads.  Marijuana will still be classified as a schedule I drug with no accepted medical uses.  et cetera et cetera - a vote for amendment 64 is a vote against medical marijuana.  A64 is great for pot heads, bad for patients.

IcePick
IcePick

Yes on 64! It's good for our children!

 

don't let Donkey control the top of the comments....

Not-DonK
Not-DonK

LOL -- told you so! We told you HB1284 was a set up, but you didn't listen and begged for more regulation. We told A64 was even a worse setup, but still you don't listen.

 

Reap what you sow, puerile pot clowns!

IcePick
IcePick

"all businesses know that they can do whatever they want until they are caught. They do not have to follow any laws as the whole system is illegal."

 

Like good captains the dispensary owners want to keep their mmed-godfather happy and so they follow the rules the mmed puts before them, or endure the harsh fines... "POP!" "POP!"

 

Denver channel 8 new reporting another mysterious gangland style killing of a dispensary owner.  "The dispensary was in good standing but late on tax payments." - anonymous CPA

Monkey
Monkey

 "the MMED is illegal and is participating in racketeering as it gives money to the Department of Revenue and the CDPHE gives money to the MMED."

"The state and various cities in Colorado must be sued for luring people into an illegal business."

"all businesses know that they can do whatever they want until they are caught. They do not have to follow any laws as the whole system is illegal."

 

Why did this take so long for some to figure out? It's called entrapment, that's why the our original Amendment included confidentiality. The MMCED was a bad idea, commercialized weed was a bad idea, and pretending Colorado can regulate weed like alcohol is a bad idea. Have some respect for yourself and cannabis by quietly providing for yourself, or privately using a MMJ caregiver. Let the fools battle over wall-mart weed while you get high and laugh.

 

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

Better that the entire rotten edifice of our unjust legal system be pulled down in blood and destruction than one more person be sent to jail for drugs!

the420rev
the420rev

Glad to see the attorneys and MMCs in Colorado are finally hearing my suit and its theory, and using my research!!!! FYI if you dont skip step one (forcing the state to reschedule cannabis federally) then all contacts and rights related to MMJ will exist and be respected.... just saying LOL

whyisthis
whyisthis

in the black market, people are shot for ripping others off. Laws which regulate contracts and commerce exist because in civilized society, we prefer it if people aren't FORCED to take matters into their own hands. It seems like that is what this ruling does...

IcePick
IcePick

 @PR420  @Pete You are a shill for the alcohol lobby, come clean you paid shill!  Tell the truth for once, YES ON A64 it is far better for Colorado than the status quo which the previous poster prefers.

 

(see what I did there donkey?)

orson
orson

 @Pete Legally, they are to remain separate.  Realistically, the MMC model will disappear over time.  MMCs will only be allowed to sell to patients while a recreational marijuana center can sell to any adult 21 and up including patients.  People do not need to register with the state to shop at recreational marijuana centers so A64 basically shoves everyone over to a recreational model.  If A64 passes it will erase the medical approach to marijuana and all marijuana use will be seen as recreational, like alcohol.

IcePick
IcePick

 @orson Good for patients, it drives the price down.  Don't lie, now.

 

IcePick
IcePick

@Not-DonK

>LOL -- told you so! We told you ()  We told () but still you don't listen.

>Reap what you sow, puerile pot clowns!

 

Who is "WE" Donkey?  You mean your buddies in the DEA who tried to get Holder to act against this?  

 

Did I miss the article where there were massive arrests taking place?  Nope. Then shut up you fear mongering trolly-Hotay.

 

A "set up" he says ROFL.  Get with the times old man...  the only WE that matters is the WE that's about to pass Amendment 64.  Your WE is dying off, old man.

 

 

the420rev
the420rev

I have no idea, i sued the state over this over a year ago, they dismissed my case as i hadnt been shut down or busted, other than that they ruled i had standing, then use my case theory and its arguement i used against the state, rev dept and mmed to reschedule as they are illegal until then.....

IcePick
IcePick

 @Monkey 

 

"The MMCED was a bad idea, commercialized weed was a bad idea, and pretending Colorado can regulate weed like alcohol is a bad idea"

 

 

That is not the problem.  The problem is that federal law has not caught up to the realizations we've come to in Colorado and until it does we'll be caught in this gray area.  But gray is MUCH better than black.  At least some of the taxes are paid and there are controls and regulations that are beginning to keep it away from dangerous 4 year olds.

 

author:

What does the blue book say???

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

 @the420rev Rev, what does "forcing the state to reschedule cannabis federally" mean?  The People can compel the State through the intiative process, but Colorado cannot compel the Federal goverment to do anything.  We have a long way to go even in getting our elected representatives to reflect the will of the People, with Jared Polis alone among Colorado's congressional delegation in support of our right to cannabis!

IcePick
IcePick

 @whyisthis No need to worry about that, red card holders can't own guns.

the420rev
the420rev

Actually only the fed or state AG has the power to petiton to reschedule, thats the base of my whole suit, suthers entapped us all by not doing his fed and state regulated action of petitoning to reschedule once the state of colorado accepted medical marijuana for medical use. ask carl olsen if you dont want to take this kids word LOL

Monkey
Monkey

 @IcePick   Red card holders can buy, sell and own guns. You are once again, mistaken.

IcePick
IcePick

 @michael.roberts  @the420rev 

 

Suther's said that he thinks medical is a farce and I thought there was even a quote where he said he'd prefer outright legalization.  Ask him why he hasn't endorsed against.  Ask him if he intends to fight the Fed given amendment 64 is on track to pass.  He certainly was willing to fight when he thought Obamacare was unconstitutional, will he enjoin with attorneys general in Washington and Michigan to (again) fight for our patients rights?  

 

(HE can't duck the question on November 7th if/when it passes).

IcePick
IcePick

 @the420rev Somebody needs to ask Suthers why he has not endorsed the No on 64 Campaign....   His lack of endorsements might lead someone to believe he supports it!

Monkey
Monkey

 @IcePick  It's not surprising you don't understand, you think A64 legalizes weed. FFL dealers were sent a letter, clarifying they are not allowed to sell guns to people who admit to using marijuana. In Colorado, you can legally buy, sell and own guns without filling out any federal forms. Confidential means confidential, Why would anyone tell the ATF or a FFL dealer they have a red card? 

IcePick
IcePick

 @Monkey LIAR.  You know full well that Drug Addicts, such as those who use MARIJUANA, CANNOT buy a NEW gun without LYING to the ATF!

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