Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Laws clash in medical pot lawsuit - The Denver Post

Laws clash in medical pot lawsuit - The Denver Post

CENTENNIAL — As state and local governments try to get a grip on the burgeoning medical-marijuana industry, the city of Centennial defended in court Friday its decision to close down an existing dispensary and institute a six-month moratorium on new ones.

Three licensed users of medical marijuana along with the two owners of the CannaMart dispensary tried to convince an Arapahoe County judge that, by closing the dispensary, the city was trying to use federal law to circumvent state law and that it was trying to ban an entire industry.

"In January 2000, 54 percent of the state's voters approved Amendment 20 to the state constitution," argued attorney Robert Hoban, representing the users and dispensary owners. "No city gets to decide if Amendment 20 is right or wrong. You can't prevent an entire industry from operating within a community."

But attorney Andrew Nathan, representing Centennial, argued before Arapahoe County District Judge Christopher C. Cross that the city had the right to close the dispensary because it violated both local zoning laws and federal drug laws.

"Federal law prohibits the use of the marijuana," Nathan said. "So this dispensary never operated legally. It was located in a B-1 zoning area, which is for general office use that does not permit retail sales."

Igor Kaminer and Stan Zislis opened the CannaMart Wellness Center on East Arapahoe Road near Interstate 25 on Sept. 18, with a retail-sales license it obtained from Centennial five days earlier. The two claim to have served more than 600 patients before the city issued a cease-and-desist letter on Oct. 15.

No sooner did the first witness take the stand for the plaintiffs then Cross stopped the interrogation and asked the witness, Shannon Mosher, a licensed user, if he was aware he was forgoing his Fifth Amendment rights and incriminating himself by admitting he used marijuana.

Cross said he had just received an e-mail from Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers saying that she plans to review all trial testimony and consider prosecuting admitted users. She also advised the judge that she thinks the use of marijuana for any reason by people on probation violates the terms of their probation and that she may prosecute them.

After examination by the judge, Mosher said he was prepared to continue testifying and that he wasn't worried about being prosecuted. Another witness, Kirsten Lamb, said the same and testified about her use of medical marijuana to treat pain from her multiple sclerosis.

No comments: