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CannaBiz: No plea deals for MMJ cases



A plea for pleas

In July, we received an anonymous e-mailed tip that the 4th Judicial District Attorney's office was no longer offering plea deals in felony marijuana/medical-marijuana cases, as is common practice throughout the state.

This week, we spoke with the tipster, and we're going to bring you more on that in the coming weeks. (We've requested but not received comment from the DA.) In the meantime, here's some of the information provided by our source, an attorney who often works with the DA's office, and who got in touch with us again, this week.

"I view this as a means to keep as many people out of the business," the attorney wrote, referencing the section in House Bill 1284 that prohibits individuals with felony convictions from being licensed to operate MMJ centers. "Not just by the tactic of hitting them with a felony conviction and being statutorily prohibited, but scaring others out of it by way of example."

Alarming story

Last Sunday night wasn't a great one for Original Cannabis Growers (2625 E. St. Vrain St., Unit A, 475-9333).

"We were robbed," says owner Paul Elias. "They threw a rock through our window at 10:30, and they were in the store for about an hour. We have full ADT [alarm system] and everything, and ADT had four alarms go off and they tried calling the police multiple times; the police never showed up."

Elias says the robbers came back around 2:30 a.m., while employees were still there cleaning up.

"So we got face-to-face with the robbers, and we shooed 'em off — that could've been bad," he says. "We tried calling the police back again, like, 'Hey, the robbers are here, now, and we're all in fear of our lives,' and they wouldn't come back."

We contacted the Colorado Springs Police Department for more, but hadn't heard back at press time. Meanwhile, Elias says, the robbers made off with around 70 ounces of marijuana, or around $15,000 worth.

The cavalry's arrived

If it seems like you've been seeing more of the Denver-based Medical Marijuana Assistance Program of America ( around Colorado Springs, well, you have.

"We're expanding the network down into the Springs," says executive director Vincent Palazzotto, whose mobile program offers discounted physician referrals.

The director says the Springs' large military presence prompted MMAPA to work with local centers to raise funds for soldiers' referrals, which the program is helping out with as well. "When we first launched, we were doing, like, 10 percent of our evaluations for free; right now we're doing about 15 percent, in the Springs, because there's a lot of retired vets down there."

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