Pierre Werner, aka Dr. Reefer, is one tough hombre. "I'm a convicted felon, so I can't have any guns," he says. "The only weapons I have are my fists."
And Werner used them early yesterday morning, when two men broke into the Boulder building, at 1121 Broadway, where his medical marijuana dispensary is located. He wound up capturing one man, Robert Michael Grant, 23, described by the Boulder Police Department as a transient; Grant was booked for investigation of first-degree burglary. The second man got away, but Werner has a recommendation for him: "Man up and turn yourself in, because Boulder's finest are hunting you down."
So... what happened? Here's Werner's account:
According to Werner, he was sleeping in his dispensary night before last, as usual. "I've got an apartment that's a block away, but I only use it to shower," he says. "My king-size bed wouldn't fit in my apartment, so I put it in the dispensary -- and I've got a big-screen TV and the Internet, too. It's just beautiful, man. It's the Bellagio of medical marijuana dispensaries."
Around 4:45 a.m., Werner continues, "I heard some banging on the back door. So I got up and looked through the peephole, and I saw this blond-haired kid trying to break in. I yelled, 'What the fuck are you doing?' It seemed like he got startled and he ran, so I went back to my bedroom to get dressed, and then I went out there. It seemed like he had left the building, which is why I didn't call the cops. But then, I heard them upstairs in my landlord's office."
Why didn't Werner phone the police then? "I figured I'd just clean it up," he maintains. "I didn't want to bother them. They're pretty busy."
Moments later, Werner found one of the men eating a chicken-and-cheese chimichanga he'd heated up using a convenient nearby microwave. "I startled him and put him on the ground. And then he asked me, 'Do you mind if I eat my burrito?' I said, 'Go ahead.' I didn't want to hurt the kid, you know."
At that point, Werner called the police -- but while he was on the horn with a representative, "the other kid ambushed me. He decked me pretty good. I got a black eye and a nice little scrape on the other side."
In response, Werner allows, I threw him against the wall and he went down to the ground and I took over. I wasn't going to let that motherfucker get away -- not after decking me."
Mr. Chimichanga took this opportunity to split, and that was fortunate for him, since the Boulder cops showed up moments later: "They're only a block away," Werner points out.
The robbery attempt at Dr. Reefer has been widely publicized, as have a number of other crimes related to medical marijuana -- most notably the murder of Denver resident Douglass Singleton, which the Denver Police say involved a medical-marijuana transaction gone awry. Werner hopes those arguing for medical marijuana-related crackdowns don't use the incident at his business to bolster their argument. For one thing, he's not even sure the men were targeting his dispensary.
"They would have broken into any building, trying to get anything of value," he says. "They were amateur punks. They had gloves, but they didn't have masks, guns or knives -- and they broke a window instead of picking a lock." Besides, "I see what I did as helping to clean up the community. I just took a bad guy off the streets, and he's in jail now."
Werner also has a take on Senator Chris Romer's decision step back from his attempt to regulate the medical marijuana industry, albeit amid warnings that a measure backed by law-enforcement could result in the banning of clinics altogether.
"I want to thank Senator Romer for withdrawing his restrictive bill," he says, "and I'm sure once these sheriffs get educated, they'll withdraw their restrictive bills as well. It just sounds to me like they're ill-informed or misinformed on the situation. Because all this is a knee-jerk reaction. They're not basing their opinions on patients' rights or on the constitution. They're the ones who'll be breaking the constitution if they try to pass anything."
In the meantime, Werner wants anyone else who might target his business to know that he'll be on site all night long, ready, willing and able to defend his property with every ounce of his energy. "I've been in prison riots," he says. "I've done hand-to-hand combat in a cell."
And in his landlord's office, with the smell of chimichanga filling the air.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.