Medical marijuana: Video of rep shredding MMJ amendment shows no spitting by advocate
Last week, we told you about Representative Jerry Sonnenberg shredding a medical marijuana amendment after a run-in with advocate Miguel Lopez. At the time, Sonnenberg said Lopez had spit on a lobbyist and been expelled from the capitol -- claims Lopez specifically denied. Now, a video of at least part of the incident has surfaced, and it appears to support Lopez's version.
In the original post, I quoted Sonnenberg as saying that after asking a cameraman to stop recording a conversation he was having with law-enforcement representatives, he invited Lopez back to his office. As the clip shows, he actually invited someone else to his office, with Lopez and the cameraman following.
To be fair to the representative, I may have gotten confused about this distinction. But what's clear from the clip is that while Lopez was certainly passionate in his hallway conversation with Sonnenberg, he seemed neither abusive nor out of control. As such, it's not terribly clear what provoked Sonnenberg to tear up the amendment in front of Lopez -- an act he performs with notable calmness.
Sonnenberg then leaves, with the cameraman asking the question, "Was that really an elected official?," before returning with a lobbyist whose name Lopez doesn't know. After Sonnenberg points her toward the cameraman and Lopez, she begins berating them for destroying hopes for a "really friendly amendment," declaring that Lopez "fucked it up." During the exchange, which was witnessed by former Coloradans for Medical Marijuana Regulation mainstay Josh Stanley -- who has yet to respond to Westword's request for an interview on this subject -- the lobbyist was generally more aggressive than Lopez. No spitting can be seen taking place.
Lopez considers Sonnenberg's side of the story to be filled with "lies," which don't surprise him, "coming from a Republican." He believes he was right to call for transparency in regard to the amendment because "they were trying to pass secret laws," and is particularly critical of the lobbyist and Stanley, who he sees as being more interested in cutting deals to benefit "their big business plan" than in looking out for the medical marijuana community as a whole.
The video below was posted by the Cannabis Therapy Institute, and it ends before Lopez encounters capitol officers. However, Lopez says there's footage showing that part of the incident as well. When we obtain the additional video, we'll update this post. In the meantime, here's the first clip:
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