Marijuana Policy Project Calls for Holiday Inns Boycott Over Pot Lawsuit

Christian Sederberg and Mason Tvert (foreground, from left) at a press conference yesterday. Additional images and more below.
Christian Sederberg and Mason Tvert (foreground, from left) at a press conference yesterday. Additional images and more below.
Courtesy of the Marijuana Policy Project

Shortly after we published a breakdown of two lawsuits filed by Washington, D.C.-based Safe Streets Alliance against Colorado's marijuana laws, the Marijuana Policy Project announced a call for a nationwide boycott against Holiday Inns.

The reason: One of the SSA suits was filed by the owners of a Holiday Inn in Frisco. They claim they've already lost business as a result of a nearby dispensary and grow, even though the pot shop hasn't opened yet.

We've included the complete lawsuit naming New Vision Hotels Two (the Frisco business' owner) below. As we've reported, the complaint points out that Medical Marijuana of the Rockies will be located less than 75 yards from the hotel's front entrance before explaining why this is an issue:

The Holiday Inn in Frisco.
The Holiday Inn in Frisco.

Running a hotel in such close proximity to a recreational marijuana operation would be problematic under any circumstances, but New Vision’s injuries are especially acute because many of its guests are youth ski teams and families with children. The parents and coaches of the youth ski team members on whom New Vision relies for this important business are especially sensitive to the presence of recreational marijuana operations. Many parents and coaches will avoid booking with a hotel that is within a short walking distance and direct sight of a recreational marijuana store and grow facility.

The complaint adds that "booking agents for two high school ski teams that have stayed with New Vision each of the past several years have said that their teams will not return to the hotel this year due to Defendants' marijuana operations. Last year alone, those two teams were responsible for approximately $50,000 in revenue for the hotel."

If such losses have been party or entirely offset by business from tourists who've come to Colorado specifically because the state has legalized limited recreational marijuana sales, that's not mentioned.

Whatever the case, the Marijuana Policy Project has now called for a boycott of all Holiday Inns — not just the one in Frisco — until the lawsuit is dropped.

The MPP says this message has been sent to approximately 200,000 e-mail subscribers and 414,000 combined followers on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, a petition has been launched on Change.org on the topic.

Here's the graphic for the petition....

...which describes its rationale like so:

A Holiday Inn hotel operator in Colorado has filed a federal lawsuit intended to shut down the state's marijuana regulatory system and force the product back into the underground market.

The lawsuit undermines a set of laws and regulations that were designed to make Colorado communities safer by ensuring quality-controlled marijuana is produced and sold by licensed, taxpaying businesses instead of drug cartels and criminals.

Please sign our petition calling on the Holiday Inn operator (New Vision Hotels) to withdraw its misguided lawsuit and urging Holiday Inn's parent company (InterContinental Hotels Group) to support its withdrawal.

We hope you will also join us in boycotting Holiday Inn hotels until the lawsuit is withdrawn — and encourage your friends and relatives to do the same!

In addition, MPP communication director Mason Tvert has released the following statement:

MPP representatives were among those who made their feelings known at a Safe Streets Alliance press conference announcing the lawsuit yesterday.
MPP representatives were among those who made their feelings known at a Safe Streets Alliance press conference announcing the lawsuit yesterday.

“A majority of Americans want to end marijuana prohibition, and we expect many of them would prefer not to spend their money at businesses that are fighting to maintain it. We’re encouraging everyone who agrees marijuana should be legal for adults to think twice before spending their holidays at a Holiday Inn. If they won’t accept marijuana businesses, we shouldn’t give them our business.

“Colorado is doing more to control marijuana than any state in the nation, and this lawsuit is aimed at undermining its efforts. Regulating marijuana has taken hundreds of millions of dollars in marijuana transactions out of a dangerous underground market. These sales are now being conducted by licensed, taxpaying businesses instead of cartels and criminals. We are disappointed that a member of the Colorado business community would prefer marijuana be sold on the streets rather than in regulated businesses.

“The fears expressed in this lawsuit were also expressed by politicians, tourism boards, and business groups that opposed Colorado’s marijuana ballot initiative in 2012, and they have all proven to be unfounded. They said regulating marijuana would be bad for tourism, but we’ve experienced record-high tourism the past couple years. They said it would hinder economic development, but businesses keep moving here, the unemployment rate has plummeted, and Colorado’s economy is among the fastest growing in the nation. It’s time to get over the reefer madness and accept the reality that marijuana is legal for adults in some states and will soon be in many more.”

To access the petition, click here. Look below to see the Safe Streets Alliance/New Vision Hotels Two complaint.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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