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CannaBiz: Lessons from Arizona



I've got rights

A few weeks back, a story came out of Arizona about a company there suing Nederland, Colo., medical marijuana center Today's Health Care II — no relation to the local dispensary of the same name, says an employee — for failing to pay back a $500,000 loan.

All well and good up to that point, except that "instead of forcing the company to pay back the loan," reports the Arizona Republic, "a Maricopa County Superior Court judge told the two Valley business partners they were out of luck as far as he was concerned."

It seems that because cannabis is federally illegal, some contracts related to it are unenforceable. Now, how unenforceable is up for debate.

The lawsuit was filed in Arizona state court, so it's not binding in Colorado jurisdictions. Still, it's something to think about, says attorney Clifton Black.

"The same ruling could be made in a lawsuit for an illegal bet, illegal materials," he writes in an e-mail. "I.e. a contract to sell illegal bomb making equipment, illegal narcotics, illegal building materials — asbestos, prostitution-contract for sex, etc. ..."

The attorney says creditors should protect themselves by not specifically citing what the service they're providing is for — it's simply entity to entity. Regardless, Black says, "This industry is [plagued] with obstacles, and this is just one more brick in the wall that is blocking the industry from survival."

All growed up

Last weekend, Audrey Hatfield announced that her little nonprofit cannabis advocacy organization, started in late 2010, is a full-blown operation with additional staff and planned expansion into Denver.

Coloradans 4 Cannabis Patient Rights ( helps patients find housing, pay bills and more. It also publicly protests on patients' behalf — as in the courthouse gatherings for criminally charged patients Bob Crouse and Elisa Kappelmann. It began as a Facebook group, which now boasts more than 550 members and acts as the central hub for patient-focused activism in the region.

We couldn't reach Hatfield in time to get details on which, and how many, Denver centers will ally with her group, but she did send this shout-out: "We would like to Thank: Ganja Gourmet; The Hemp Center; MMD of Colorado; The Silver Lizard and Good Chemistry for becoming a part of our Patient Assistance Program!" writes the president. "There will be many more additions thru the Summer!"

Whiskey vs. weed

Last week, Denver TV station FOX 31 compared the driving abilities of two impaired individuals: one via marijuana, the other from drinking half a bottle of Jack Daniel's. See the results at

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