Thu February 9, 2012

After Unsuccessful Court Challenge, Fort Collins Pot Ban Moves Forward

A legal attempt to temporarily halt a Fort Collins medical marijuana dispensary ban from going into effect next week has failed.

Six medical marijuana dispensaries were seeking a temporary restraining order from the February 14 ban. During more than five hours of testimony,  the businesses argued that the ban would violate their constitutional rights. Testimony also challenged how the city renewed and handled business licenses after voters approved the ban in November.

According to the plaintiff’s attorney, Brett Barney, Fort Collins’ licensing ordinance should have allowed his clients due process to challenge their licenses being taken away by the city on February 14.

Barney said that if the ban were allowed to move forward without an opportunity for due process for his clients, they would experience “irreparable harm” to their businesses. But District Court Judge Thomas French disagreed with that, saying that the monetary losses mentioned during the hearing didn’t constitute "irreparable harm" under the law.

Michelle Tucker, a plaintiff and owner of Medicinal Gardens, said she was disappointed by Thursday’s ruling.

“It hurts because we’ve invested so much into this: time, money and taken away so much from family and everything else,” she said.

Tucker said she plans to pack up her business in Fort Collins and is considering starting a new dispensary in Denver.

An attorney for the city declined to comment, citing the fact that the case has not yet been closed.

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