In a blog published yesterday, state senator Chris Romer said this while discussing some of his ideas for regulating the medical-marijuana industry: "The medical-marijuana community isn't the only stakeholder here. Lots of suburban parents are horrified when they drive their fifteen-year-old, who they want to keep focused on high school, down Broadway past Dr. Reefer. And they'll have a say about this as well."
Turns out someone else would like to be heard, too: Dr. Reefer himself. His real name is Pierre Werner, and he's got two dispensaries on different Broadways in the area: 1121 Broadway in Boulder and 2020 S. Broadway in Denver. But while the signage is up in the Denver location, Werner's yet to open for business at that location -- and he may not due to "major problems" he's having " with politicians and what-not."
In the meantime, he's plenty frustrated by Romer and the hypothetical parent he cites. "You know what they should really be horrified about?" he asks. "They should be horrified by the billboard right across the street from me advertising Bud Light."
In response to the aforementioned Romer blog, Werner posted a virtual manifesto, repeating his line about the Bud Light billboard but adding plenty more. Here's what he had to say:
Hello Senator Romer,
Please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Pierre Werner, a.k.a. DrReefer.com. I am writing you to address some of your proposed regulation that may or may not be coming up. Whatever happens with the proposed legislation, I am thankful that you at least sought public input. This rarely happens in Nevada.
So please let me explain why I believe its a mistake to introduce legislation next year that would eliminate retail-style dispensaries and place extra scrutiny on patients under 25.
First, retail-style dispensaries are needed for the convenience of the patients. When a physician recommends medical marijuana, the patients medicine should be made available just like any other medication. Retail-style dispensaries serve this purpose.
Second, retail dispensaries are helping Colorado's economy. For example, the corner of Broadway and Ashbury where there are now 3 dispensaries. If it were not for the dispensaries those building would be empty. The Little Brown House Dispensary used to be a haven for homeless and drunks. We have actually cleaned up the area, light up the neighborhood at night. Also, retail dispensaries might survive where other business just fail. So at the end of the day, a retail dispensary is better than an empty building.
Third, you'll force dispensary owners back into the "underground" market. You will be making certain patients criminals instead of regulating and taxing us.
Lastly, I wanted to discuss your plans to place extra scrutiny on patients under 25. This is a mistake of enormous proportions. Canada also tried to limit patients into the medical marijuana program in that country. They required that 2 physicians had to recommend medical marijuana. Well, that got struck down by Canada's Supreme Court. The reasoning was that one physicians opinion is more than fair and requiring a second opinion is redundant for a patient that wants to get into the medical marijuana program.
Another problem, is the age limit, where did you get the age 25? It seems odd that at 18, people are supposed to be full grown adults. Then there's the alcohol mandatory age of 21. I'm not even sure where the government came up with age 21 but according to the government that is the age when adults are responsible enough to buy alcohol.
What scientific evidence do you have that adults aged 25 are more mature than adults who are under 25? I hope you can see how trying to limit patient access to adults would be struck down by the courts as unconstitutional.
It seems as if everyone wants to limit who gets into the Medical Marijuana program. For example, in Nevada, if you are convicted of possession with intent to sell medical marijuana, the patient is barred for life from getting into the Medical Marijuana program. However, in Nevada, if you are a violent felon, convicted of Murder, Rape, Armed Robbery the state of Nevada welcomes you with open arms.
I bring this up, because I sincerely hope that Colorado does not go down the same backward path that Nevada has. Further more in Nevada, the state does not allow sales of medical marijuana. So if you are a quadriplegic, the state of Nevada will give you a Medical Marijuana license and then tell you to grown your own.
Finally, I'd like to address your comment, "Lots of suburban parents are horrified when they drive their fifteen-year-old, who they want to keep focused on high school, down Broadway past Dr. Reefer. And they'll have a say about this as well." I do not believe this to be the case. The parents are more "horrified" with the 14 by 48 foot billboard advertising Bud Light "Huge Flavor".
Just by driving by DrReefer is not going to make people lose focus of anything or go crazy, well maybe some politicians. However, I believe it would be wiser to work with all the dispensary models and let the law of supply and demand work it self out. The cream of the crop will always rise to the top while the others go out of business on their own.
The dispensary owners are just now organizing and we are hiring our own lobbyists. Further more we will be contributing financial contributions to politicians that support our cause and oppose those who oppose dispensaries. We would rather work together than work against each other.
Respectfully, Pierre Werner DrReefer.com
Werner's mention of legal matters goes beyond the mere academic. He concedes that he's got a criminal record owing to incidents in New Jersey as well as Nevada -- specifically Las Vegas, his home prior to relocating to Colorado about a month ago. He describes himself as "a three-time, non-violent convicted felon for possession with intent to sell medical marijuana." That's one more conviction than he told Channel 7 about in a story dated late last month.
As a result of his past, plus a negative reaction to his neon pot-leaf sign, Werner says, officials in Denver "have come out against me -- but not the business owners. They've all come out in favor of what I'm doing, and I've had talks with the neighborhood school and the church, too -- me and my mother. They're not asking us to move, and they're not asking other dispensaries across the street to move -- nor are they asking the drive-through liquor store in the area to move. They just want us to operate in a professional manner and not to have any problems."
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Nonetheless, the unhappiness he's stirred in government circles has convinced him that formally opening his door at his current Denver base isn't in his best interests. "If I got caught selling medical marijuana in a school zone, I face a mandatory minimum of six years in prison, and that's too big a risk for me. I want no part of that."
It's possible a spot in a building seven blocks south that's also owned by his current landlord may be available at month's end -- and if so, he may put down roots there. And if not? "I've been in contact with a guy who owns four medical-marijuana referral service centers in Colorado, and I may sell Dr. Reefer to him," Werner says. But he'd like to stay in Boulder: "I really love it there. It's really beautiful, and they've welcomed me with open arms. The deputy mayor came and checked out my facility, and they basically told me, 'Just pay your taxes and don't sell to anybody who doesn't have a medical-marijuana license and you'll be fine.'"
He wishes Denver politicos took the same tack. He's particularly appalled by assertions from Denver City Council member Charlie Brown about "drug lords supposedly coming in front out of state to exploit Colorado's medical-marijuana law." Werner's response? "I don't know what Charlie Brown has been smoking, or what pills he's been taking, but drug lords live in Bogota, Colombia, not Denver, Colorado. Drug lords don't work for a living -- but I do. I put in twelve-to-fourteen hour days every day. And I'm open seven days a week."
In Boulder, anyhow. Denver is another story.