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News (Media Awareness Project) - US CO: Suit Aims To Block Medical Marijuana Ban
Title:US CO: Suit Aims To Block Medical Marijuana Ban
Published On:2012-02-02
Source:Fort Collins Coloradoan (CO)
Fetched On:2012-02-03 06:02:44
SUIT AIMS TO BLOCK MEDICAL MARIJUANA BAN

Owners of six Fort Collins medical marijuana businesses are going to
court in an effort to derail a voter-approved ordinance that bans
marijuana dispensaries and growing operations from the city.

A lawsuit filed last week in Larimer District Court seeks a temporary
restraining order in enforcing the ban, which goes into effect Feb.
14, as well as a hearing on a preliminary injunction on implementing
the ordinance.

The suit claims the ordinance, which passed in November, violates the
Colorado Constitution by interfering with the rights of the business
owners, including the rights of free speech, assembly, property, and
to participate in the political process.

The suit seeks to have the ordinance declared unconstitutional.

Denver attorney Brett Barney, who is representing the businesses,
said the complaint touches on a lot of issues, including whether an
entire industry may be banned from a municipality.

The state Constitution allows the use of medical marijuana to treat
certain debilitating conditions.

A law passed last year by the state Legislature allows municipalities
and counties to ban marijuana businesses.

"We're hoping to find a judge who still believes in the
Constitution," Barney said.

The suit names the city, the entire City Council and City Manager
Darin Atteberry as defendants. It also names Larimer County Sheriff
Justin Smith, District Attorney Larry Abrahamson and the Colorado
Department of Revenue as defendants.

The city has not yet responded to the suit and no hearing on the
matter has been set.

Marijuana businesses have until 7 p.m. Feb. 14 to cease operations.
They have until midnight that day to remove all marijuana products in
accordance with state and local laws.

Any material that is left will be confiscated and destroyed, said
police Sgt. Jim Byrne in a recent interview.

City Attorney Steve Roy said the city expects to go ahead with its plans.

"The city's responsibility is to enforce the provisions of the
voter-approved ordinance, and we intend to move ahead with that
enforcement in the absence of a court order to the contrary," he said.

At least seven medical marijuana businesses already have closed in
recent weeks.

In their lawsuit, the business owners said they have invested heavily
in their businesses with the expectation that they would be able to
operate under regulations established by the city and state.

Banning marijuana businesses would take away their ability to make a
living, the owners claim.

The suit was brought by the owners of Medicinal Gardens of Colorado,
420 S. Howes St.; Abundant Healing, 351 Linden St.; Natural
Alternatives for Health, 1630 N. College Ave.; Organic Alternatives,
Kind Care Colorado, 6617 S. College Ave.; and A Kind Place, 123 E. Drake Road.

The suit does not specify monetary damages, but does seek to have the
owners' attorney fees paid by the defendants.
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