Friday's turning out to be an interesting little day for Colorado's medical marijuana industry. Two big pieces of news:
• First, advocate Kathleen Chippi has re-filed her lawsuit against House Bill 1284 — which she originally asked the state Supreme Court to hear, to no avail — in Denver District Court yesterday, through her attorney Andrew B. Reid.
A statement from the release says: "The goal of the lawsuit is to restore constitutional protection that patients and caregivers enjoyed prior to the passage of these new laws. The new medical marijuana laws severely restrict caregivers from serving patients, by limiting how many patients a caregiver can serve and denying caregivers the right to charge for their services. The lawsuit asks the court for a declaratory judgment on whether the Constitution allows a patient to choose any caregiver they wish. The lawsuit argues that no limits were set on caregivers in the Constitution, and that the patient has the ultimate right to decide who will provide his cannabis medicine."
• Second, the feds have re-re-re-clarified their stance toward MMJ, and it's very not-friendly toward center owners, to say the least. Here's the Denver Post's John Ingold:
In a memo written earlier this week, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole wrote that people, "who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities" are in violation of federal law regardless of their state laws. ...
"The Department's view of the efficient use of limited federal resources as articulated in the Ogden Memorandum has not changed," Cole wrote. "There has, however, been an increase in the scope of commercial cultivation, sale, distribution and use of marijuana for purported medical purposes."
In a release, Americans for Safe Access blasted what they perceive to be threats from the federal level:
"It is disingenuous of the Obama administration to say it is not attacking patients while obstructing the implementation of local and state medical marijuana laws," says Steph Sherer, executive director of ASA. "The president is using intimidation tactics to stop elected officials from serving their constituents, thereby pushing patients into the illicit market."
See the full memo here: JUNE_29_2011_U.S._ATTORNEY_GENERAL_MEMO.pdf