Pubdate: Tue, 01 Mar 2011
Source: Fort Collins Coloradoan (CO)
Copyright: 2011 The Fort Collins Coloradoan
Author: Trevor Hughes


Three medical marijuana dispensaries are suing the city of Loveland
and state to block implementation of a city ordinance forcing them to
close today.

Rocky Mountain Kind, Magic's Emporium and Colorado Canna Care, along
with two unnamed individual defendants, are being represented by
Robert J. Corry, a Denver attorney who works with medical marijuana

The lawsuit asks a judge to grant a temporary injunction blocking the
city ordinance from taking effect and also asks for the law to be
thrown out entirely.

Loveland voters in November voted to ban medical marijuana
dispensaries in the city. Today is the deadline for all shops to close.

In a letter sent to dispensaries last month, city officials warned
that any sales after March 1 would be deemed "illegal" and draw
criminal penalties of $1,000-a-day fines and jail sentences. And
officials also said anyone selling after March 1 would also still have
to collect and remit sales tax.

Corry successfully fought a similar ban in Arapahoe County through a
similarly worded lawsuit filed in late 2009.

"Centennial tried to ban it. They were unsuccessful," Corry said. "We
took them down in Arapahoe District Court because the judge found this
was a protected constitutional right.

"We're not arguing that we can't be zoned or regulated. We're just
arguing that it can't be banned outright," he said.

In the lawsuit, Corry argues that the voter-approved Amend-ment 20
permits Colorado residents access to medical marijuana.

By forcing the dispensaries to close, Corry argues, Loveland also is
"taking" a property right without compensation. Loveland voters in
November decided to ban dispensaries outright.

"Loveland's rigid policy of banning all medical marijuana centers
deprives qualified medical marijuana patients of the medicine
guaranteed to them by Article XVIII, Section 14 of the Colorado
Constitution," the suit says. "Patient plaintiffs will be unable to
obtain medicine in a consistent manner and will suffer irreparable
injury to their health, as direct result of the local

Fort Collins city officials are considering whether to grandfather in
existing dispensaries in the Choice City. In contrast to Loveland and
Larimer County, Fort Collins has approved regulations that restrict,
but do not ban, dispensaries.

Because the lawsuit was filed late Monday, it had not been assigned to
a judge. Corry said he asked for an expedited decision and hoped to
hear about the temporary injunction this morning.

Loveland city officials could not be reached Monday evening.
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.