Marijuana clubs: Mayor's call for a ban blatantly unconstitutional, advocate says
This week, Mayor Michael Hancock appeared before a Denver City Council subcommittee to talk marijuana. And during his time in the spotlight (see a video of his chat below), he made it clear that if he had his way, pot would be tightly regulated and clubs for those who want to consume it would be banned.
Photos, video below.
His remarks stuck in the craw of attorney Rob Corry, a pot club backer who spoke at the same subcommittee meeting. He sees Hancock's proposed club prohibition as both wrongheaded and unconstitutional.
At the Monday session, Hancock framed his objections to marijuana clubs around the issuing of driving while stoned. He maintained that cops have only recently gotten a handle on how to tell if someone is suffering from THC impairment -- a claim certain to be disputed by law-enforcement types, since the behavior has long been illegal -- and suggested that such venues would put even more dangerous potheads on the road.
"We remind ourselves that we're still dealing with a federally controlled substance," he said, adding, "I don't believe it is wise to open the door even wider for people to move about our public from a private club to their private home while consuming marijuana. And the more we restrict it, to me, the more safe our community will be. There's no reason we need to open up that Pandora's box when the law doesn't speak to it.
Michael Hancock speaking before the Denver City Council marijuana subcommittee.
"I propose and advocate for the most restrictive regulatory environment for marijuana," he went on, "and I believe that by allowing for private clubs, it doesn't speak to that value."
These comments, and others like them, thrilled Smart Colorado, an organization that wants to err on the side of caution when implementing Amendment 64. A statement from spokeswoman Diane Carlson reads:
Smart Colorado applauds Denver Mayor Michael Hancock for his leadership on this difficult issue. His strong statement to the city council stakes positions we support: Our top priorities must be protection of public health and safety for individuals and communities. Smart Colorado agrees with Mayor Hancock that the regulatory structure of marijuana must pay for itself. We agree that public hearings must be required before pot retailers are allowed to open. We agree that Denver should not support public marijuana consumption. Smart Colorado hopes the Denver City Council will be inspired by Mayor Hancock's words when considering the safest and most responsible approaches to Amendment 64.Far less enthusiastic is Corry, with whom we spoke for yesterday's post about his decision not to challenge CU-Boulder's campus closure on 4/20.
At the dawn of the new year, Corry appeared twice on CNN to tout Club 64, described as Colorado's first pot club; we've included both of those clips here as well. He continues to see clubs like this as perfectly legal under Colorado law and argues that restrictions on them would run afoul of the state constitution.
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