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Man sues Colorado Springs over marijuana, and add another MMJ state



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The hempire strikes back

There's been all kinds of pushback following last Tuesday's decision by Colorado Springs City Council to ban recreational-marijuana stores, from threats to recall the five Councilors, to a local protest song that includes the lyrics, "We don't like marijuana / 'Cause we're old fogeys." But the lawsuit filed in district court Friday by Dennis Sladek is probably the most significant.

The retired criminal-defense attorney who was interested in opening an RMJ store is not just taking on the city of Colorado Springs, its Council and Mayor Steve Bach; he's fighting the very statute in Amendment 64 that gives municipalities the option to opt out of sales in the first place, possibly placing any ban in the state in jeopardy.

"It is a denial of due process," Sladek, 70, says in an interview, "because they're taking away my constitutionally protected right to operate a business. It's a property right, it's a liberty interest, and they're taking that away without the right to have a hearing, and go forward with that, and that's why I brought this action."

Sladek, who practiced for 22 years, says he would have welcomed the regulation and taxation, were the city to have gone that direction. He adds that he can't understand how Councilors could just leave money on the table.

Plus: "I don't know what Bach is trying to prove, but with this thing, when you go telling the City Council, 'If you vote this way, I'm gonna veto it,' who the hell are you, you know?"

Ultimately, it's unknown what kind of shot the suit has — the wording in the amendment's pretty clear. But you never know. "There's no way you can predict how something is gonna turn out. ... There's no rhyme or reason," Sladek says. "If you don't try, you can't win."

And if that doesn't work, advocates are rallying supporters in an attempt to get a question overturning Council's decision on the ballot. Meetings are being held at 6 p.m. Thursdays at Studio A64 (332 E. Colorado Ave.), with a single additional one coming at 2 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 4, at the Penrose Library (20 N. Cascade Ave.).

More medical marijuana

Also last Tuesday came word that New Hampshire had become the 19th state to permit medical marijuana. Gov. Maggie Hassan signed legislation that, as the Associated Press reported, allows for four centers statewide, and "a maximum of 80 marijuana plants, 160 seedlings and 80 ounces of marijuana or 6 ounces per qualifying patient." Home grows remain illegal.

Help for autism

An April study from Stanford University is getting some exposure. It shows that cannabinoids may help brain signals blocked by autism, reach their destinations.


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