Tue March 15, 2011

Loveland Pot Ban Challenge Goes To Court

An 8th Judicial District Court judge heard arguments from both sides of a lawsuit today challenging the city of Loveland’s ban on medical marijuana dispensaries.

Loveland voters approved the medical marijuana dispensary ban last November, and it went into place on March 1. But three dispensaries are challenging it, along with unnamed medical marijuana patients. They say it violates their rights guaranteed by the state constitution. That’s despite a state law passed by the legislature last year that gives cities the right to restrict medical marijuana dispensaries.

“I don’t think the legislature can empower them to do that. Either the constitution applies and creates constitutional rights for all Coloradans or it doesn’t and that’s the issue here,” said Rob Corry, the attorney representing the plaintiffs.

The city of Loveland and the state of Colorado are arguing that voters never intended for dispensaries to administer the drug when they approved Amendment 20, which legalized the use of medical marijuana, but rather approved a relationship between caregivers and patients.

“What we set up was a primary caregiver patient model," said Geoff Blue, deputy attorney general for the state of Colorado, which along with the city of Loveland is defending the case.  "We did not set up a retail operation model in Amendment 20. And that’s what this case is ultimately about,” he said.

A judge is expected to rule on the injunction next Tuesday.

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