Colo. Judge: Pot Shops Have Constitutional Rights

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  Colo. Judge: Pot Shops Have Constitutional Rights

Posted by CN Staff on December 30, 2009 at 15:34:31 PT
By Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press Writer 
Source: Associated Press 

Centennial, Colo. -- Medical marijuana patients have a constitutional right to buy pot, not just use it, according to ruling Wednesday by a judge. Arapahoe County District Court Judge Christopher Cross sided with the CannaMart dispensary, which sued the city of Centennial after it was shut down in October. Cross granted the dispensary's request for an injunction, which will prevent the city from keeping the dispensary closed while CannaMart challenges the city's argument that it can ban pot shops because they violated federal drug laws.
Colorado in 2000 passed a constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana, which is now allowed in 14 states. Recent decisions by state health authorities, along with a signal this year from the U.S. attorney general that federal prosecutors won't interfere with state pot rules, have led to an explosion of commercial marijuana stores across Colorado. In the oral ruling, the judge had sharp words for cities that say federal drug laws allow them to keep out any dispensaries. Cross said the city violated the rights of three medical marijuana patients who joined the lawsuit. "These are people who have a right to medical marijuana, the right to the caregiver of their choice. That has been taken away from them," Cross said. CannaMart's owner, Stan Zislis, said after the decision that he wasn't sure if he would reopen the shop in Centennial. Zislis has opened a new CannaMart in the nearby suburb of Littleton. The judge's decision left unresolved a zoning dispute between Centennial and CannaMart, which had about 600 clients at the time it was closed. The city also has passed a moratorium on new dispensaries, so CannaMart cannot move and reopen elsewhere in Centennial. Lauren Davis, a lawyer for CannaMart, said the judge's words "should be a warning to towns across this state" that are considering whether to ban dispensaries. Another town south of Denver, Castle Rock, has also cited federal drug laws in forcing a dispensary there to stop selling marijuana. "They are violating the rights of sick patients and caregivers," Davis said. One of the patients who sued, Eric Mosher, said CannaMart's closure made it difficult for him to obtain medical marijuana recommended for a debilitating nerve ailment. "It's hard enough to be in the situation I'm in," Mosher said after the ruling. Centennial's lawyer, Robert Widner, said it was too soon to say how city officials would proceed. The judge scheduled further legal discussion in the case for next year. He concluded by saying that cities wanting to get rid of all dispensaries could find themselves violating constitutional rights. Even though federal laws ban the sale of marijuana, Cross said, "The voters have spoken. It is not a criminal act in the state of Colorado."Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press WriterPublished: December 30, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Associated PressCannabisNews Medical Marijuana  Archives

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Comment #5 posted by dongenero on December 31, 2009 at 08:02:29 PT
Judge Cross - thank you for your fairness
A bit of sweet justice for the rights of free Americans.
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on December 31, 2009 at 02:47:58 PT
"The voters are smokin'!"
 "It is not a criminal act in the state of Colorado."Remember how it was under the Son-Of-Babs?I can just see him snorting and guffawing as only a spoiled human maroon would do. If he had stayed with herb instead of Jack Daniels and Peruvian nose candy, his brain would only suffer the customary genetic defects known only to the Bush Crime Family.Here is to us! Here is to humanity it it's most glorious form, free spirited!Here is to folk who exemplify the higher side to human nature.Robert E. Lee said, " Our fate now lies in the hands of the angels of our higher nature!"So be it and bring it on 2010!
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Comment #3 posted by Canis420 on December 30, 2009 at 22:05:29 PT:
Holy Crap
What a statement... and reported by the AP as well!
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on December 30, 2009 at 16:31:27 PT
great stuff
anytime you hear someone in govt. say "the voters have spoken" that means they're on our side!! What a great judge. "the voters have spoken" means it's time to shut down whatever BS reasons you had to further abuse med MJ patients.Somewhere down the line these violations of constitutional rights are going to turn into cash awards for damages, something these idiotic town administrators might want to remember.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on December 30, 2009 at 15:36:52 PT

Good News
I am looking forward to what changes we will see in 2010.
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