Pot advocate's amended suit against Broncos claims false statements against food product
Last month, we told you about a lawsuit filed against Broncos owner Pat Bowlen after a vehicle was twice ejected from a Mile High Stadium parking lot because it was emblazoned with the logo of Cannabis University.
Since then, the Colorado Civil Rights Division has informed the Broncos about the complaint, and an amended version of the suit adds a new argument. It claims the eviction violates state law against defaming Colorado food products.
As we've reported, the matters at the center of both suits, which name Bowlen's PDB Sports and the Metropolitan Stadium Football District, took place on the mornings of January 12 and January 19, prior to the Broncos' victories over San Diego and New England, respectively, in a pair of NFL playoff games.
After the first of these incidents, LaMay told Westword that ticket-holder Freddy Moore of marijuana-centric 1 Blunt Radio, an Internet program, was among those who'd ridden to the game in a Winnebago emblazoned with both the program's logo and the Cannabis University name. The plan was to broadcast during the run-up to the game -- but something went wrong.
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LaMay wasn't present on the 12th, but she was listening in until the feed went down. In response to a text from her asking if there was a problem, Moore (who didn't respond to an interview request) sent a reply that included "a photo of a Denver policeman on a motorcycle," she recalls. "And there was obviously somebody else there -- a representative who said their presence was 'insulting.'"
Why? The reason, the documents maintain, was the word "cannabis" on the side of the vehicle.
The original suit reveals that Moore left "when the Denver police exerted their authority and threatened to tow the vehicle as requested by the Defendants' representatives." And the same thing happened the next week.
In the initial complaint, LaMay argues that "Cannabis University was defamed and damaged in a public place by the Defendants: The Defendants' restraint of the plaintiff's speech violated the First Amendment rights of a corporation; and the Defendants' complaint and enforcement was subjective and inequitable."
Freddy Moore, left, and other members of the 1 Blunt Radio crew at the stadium on January 12.
The document goes on to stress that "the word 'cannabis' is not an obscene word," adding that "the people in the 'tailgating party,' including the owner of the vehicle, who are disabled, of color, and of a certain creed, were humiliated and shamed and retaliated against in a public place and clearly discriminated against."
As such, the complaint asks for a monetary reward and punitive damages in the hope that such payments will effectively "stop further discriminatory policies of the defendants against legal businesses and people of a certain color and creed and limited physical capabilities."
These passages are absent from LaMay's amended complaint, which instead offers a series of new arguments.
Michelle LaMay posing alongside the Cannabis University vehicle, in an image from her Facebook page.
In an e-mail to Westword, LaMay writes that the first lawsuit was "emotionally driven and amateurish." She believes the new complaint is likelier to get the team's attention, and it does indeed take a memorable tack.
The first claim for relief focuses on the assertion that the treatment of the Cannabis University vehicle disparaged LaMay's business. An excerpt reads, "Not only has the Plaintiff incurred the direct intellectual damage to its business interests, the value of which can not, nor need not be determined by this Court on the occasions in this dispute, but the malicious business policy of the Defendants effects all legal Colorado cannabis growers, manufacturers and sellers...at all future Denver Broncos home games."
The second claim, meanwhile, suggests that the actions violated Colorado statutes against disparaging homegrown food materials. Here's the statute in question:
It is unlawful for any person, firm, partnership, association, or corporation or any servant, agent, employee, or officer thereof to destroy or cause to be destroyed, or to permit to decay or to become unfit for use or consumption, or to take, send, or cause to be transported out of this state so to be destroyed or permitted to decay, or knowingly to make any materially false statement, for the purpose of maintaining prices or establishing higher prices for the same, or for the purpose of limiting or diminishing the quantity thereof available for market, or for the purpose of procuring, or aiding in procuring, or establishing, or maintaining a monopoly in such articles or products, or for the purpose of in any manner restraining trade, any fruits, vegetables, grain, meats, or other articles or products ordinarily grown, raised, produced, or used in any manner or to any extent as food for human beings or for domestic animal.
The suit goes on to note that "Cannabis is raised and produced and used in many manners and as an ingredient in food for human beings and a regulated product in Colorado subject to the Statutes and Department of Revenue Rules and Regulations."
As such, the document faults plaintiffs for "calling the Denver Police, not once, but twice, and on each occasion, making to law enforcement false and malicious accusations based on a stated prejudice against a Colorado food product, cannabis, for the purpose of restraining the Plaintiff's trade, which is the sole objective of Cannabis University's permanent advertising display on the ticket holder's motor home."
Additionally, LaMay's case against the Broncos is moving forward on another front. She reveals that the Colorado Civli Rights Division has informed the team about the complaint against it, as illustrated by the following photo:
Here's the amended complaint.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Marijuana archive circa February 14: "Pot advocate sues Mile High Stadium, Pat Bowlen over ban of Cannabis University vehicle."
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