Medical-marijuana patients to sue over dispensary closure

Medical-marijuana patients and providers, as well as the attorneys who argue on their behalf, haven't always found the courts to be in their corner. Witness the controversial ruling in the Stacy Clendenin case, which caused the Board of Health to alter its definition of caregiver -- at least until a Denver District Court judge tossed out the change.

Nonetheless, lawyers Bob Hogan and Rob Corry, representing four patients and two caregivers, hope to jump back into the trial fire in regard to a lawsuit they'll formally announce at 11 a.m. this morning. The target? The city of Centennial, which closed a medical-marijuana dispensary called CannaMart. They'll argue that municipalities like Centennial "are prohibited from imposing land use restrictions on local businesses when such restrictions infringe upon rights upheld by the state Constitution as 'matters of statewide concern.'"

For a more detailed look at their argument, look below:


Landmark case challenges municipal authority to ban all Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Centennial, Colo. -- For the first time in state history, a coalition of medical marijuana patients, together with their caregivers, will sue a municipal government to reopen a medical marijuana wellness center. The Centennial-based CannaMart was shuttered last month after city officials banned Medical Marijuana dispensaries within city limits.

Four seriously-ill medical marijuana patients, together with their two caregivers, allege that the City of Centennial violated Colorado's Constitution and relevant land use statutes when it forced CannaMart to shut down its operations on October 19.

The coalition's attorneys, Bob Hoban and Jessica Corry of Hoban & Feola, LLC, and Robert J. Corry, Jr., rely on well established Colorado case law to argue that home rule municipalities, including Centennial, are prohibited from imposing land use restrictions on local businesses when such restrictions infringe upon rights upheld by the state Constitution as "matters of statewide concern."

Medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2000, when a majority of voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing individuals suffering from debilitating medical conditions to legally consume and purchase marijuana. The amendment also legalized the sale, distribution, storage, transportation, production, and cultivation of the medicine by caregivers.

WHAT: Medical marijuana caregivers and patients, together with their attorneys, will speak about their lawsuit to open Centennial to Medical Marijuana.

WHEN: Monday, November 30, 2009, 11:00 a.m.

WHERE: Arapahoe County District Court, 7325 S. Potomac St., Centennial, CO, in the courtyard by the flagpoles.

"While Centennial may not like the idea of medical marijuana caregivers providing services to patients within city limits, Colorado law is clear: the city lacks the legal authority to restrict the rights of caregivers and patients in such a way," said Hoban.

"The City of Centennial cannot amend the Colorado Constitution and cannot override Colorado's voters. Sick people have a constitutional right to Medical Marijuana, and we hope this lawsuit will ease human suffering and bring Centennial into compliance with the constitution." added Robert J. Corry, Jr.