Brian Vicente on victory in hearing to void Board of Health's medical-marijuana ruling

As reported in our live blog about a Denver District Court hearing this morning, Judge Larry Naves ruled in favor of medical-marijuana advocates, who argued against a controversial action by the state's Board of Health. The board's move echoed a Court of Appeals ruling that said a caregiver had to do more than simply provide marijuana to a patient -- but Naves nullified it, concluding that those who objected weren't given adequate warning or preparation time for the emergency meeting at which the decision was made.

Immediately following the ruling, Westword's Joel Warner chatted with Brian Vicente, one of the attorneys representing medical-marijuana patients. "We're happy about the results," Vicente said. "The judge made it very clear the Board of Health needs to cease disenfranchising the public. We hope that at subsequent hearings, they will abide by Colorado law and listen to patients and providers."

The next major battle on this issue will likely take place at a December 16 meeting -- one that could be every bit as raucous as the Board of Health session in July that led to the original caregiver definition. Vicente promises that "we will certainly coordinate attendance and written testimony. It's our hope they will do the right thing and support patients by not restricting caregivers."

Warner also conversed with Mark Salley, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. He confirmed that the caregiver definition, and the aforementioned Court of Appeals ruling, would be considered at the December 16 meeting. Originally, the organizers had planned to only accept written testimony, as opposed to hearing remarks from attendees, but Salley said, "In light of this decision, I think they will consider how they will take public comments."

If that's the case, where will officials find a meeting room large enough to accommodate what's likely to be an enormous throng? Salley told Warner he's not sure.

Maybe Invesco Field will be available.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts