Despite a last-minute plea for an injunction filed by Dacono's three medical marijuana dispensaries with Weld County courts, a judge declined to grant the request and the shops were all forced to close their doors on Monday, December 31 -- six months after the tiny town's city council enacted a ban on medical marijuana centers.
The injunction request argued that state statute only allowed for medical marijuana bans up until July 1, 2011 -- and Dacono's ban was approved last June. The request also pointed out that a petition to overturn the ban has been approved as a ballot consideration for Dacono voters, and a special election could be held as early as February.
But last Thursday, District Judge Dinsmore Tuttle said she didn't want to step on the toes of Dacono councilmembers, and ruled that they were within their rights to enact the ban.
"The way she reads it, they say you can do this at any time, essentially," says attorney Judd Golden, who is representing the shops. Because of that interpretation, Tuttle said she saw no evidence that the ban would be overturned in court, according to Golden.
And even though Dacono voters could overturn that vote in just a month or two, Golden says that closing the dispensaries in the interim will be a death blow to the businesses. State law requires dispensaries to completely destroy their inventory, as well as dismantle grow operations tied to the centers when they close their doors.
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But he says there was little they could do after the judge's ruling to save the shops from closing down. "The practicality here is that at the end of the business day [December 31] they would enforce the ban. To stop that would have required an appeal process, and within one or two business days," Golden said. "It's terribly unfortunate. When something is on the ballot, you put things on hold and let the people decide."
At least one dispensary, Dacono Meds, has found somewhere to move its operations, according to manager Brad Henson. Henson was tight-lipped about the location when we reached him earlier this week, but the Julesburg Advocate reports that center will be trading tiny Dacono for even smaller Sedgwick in the northeastern corner of the state. The town is about one-third of a square mile and has a population of about 145 people.
More from our marijuana news archive: "Cannabis Time Capsule: "Anti-symbol Hippie Ponders Future in Jail"; "At Greyhound rest stop, Lamar cops find "abnormally heavy" pillow filled with marijuana"; "Dacano mulls dispensary ban."