Marijuana: Suburban dispensary finally approved after four-year legal battle

Four years and multiple court battles later, the medical marijuana dispensary known as Cannamart has finally won approval to do business in Littleton.

The shop still has more hoops ahead of it, including the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division licensing process.

But Cannamart attorney Bob Hoban is optimistic that things are finally, finally, finally on the right track, after setbacks that started back in 2009.

According to Hoban, Cannamart opened on November 12, 2009, at 72 East Arapahoe Road, but it wasn't left alone to do business for long. In mid-December, he goes on, Littleton passed legislation to limit the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in town to four.

At first, this didn't seem like an issue. In early February 2010, the Littleton city clerk sent a letter announcing that Cannamart had been okayed as one of the four centers allowed to operate in the community; it's on view below. However, that approval was later revoked without process or explanation, Hoban maintains. In response, Hoban filed a lawsuit on Cannamart's behalf calling for damages based on the revocation, which he characterizes as a taking of sorts. After the complaint was rejected at the trial court level, the parties took the matter to the state Court of Appeals and asked for a stay so the dispensary could remain open through the process -- and the request was granted.

This positive development was followed by a negative one: The Court of Appeals ultimately rejected Cannamart's complaint, too. That triggered another appeal, this time to the Colorado Supreme Court. Hoban identifies the key question asked by the case like so: Can the government pass legislation to arbitrarily shut down a canna-business without compensation?

That answer has not yet been answered. The arguments were made this past December, but a decision is still pending.

In the meantime, however, the fourth slot for a Littleton dispensary opened up, and rather than waiting for the Supreme Court to weigh in, Cannamart's owners, following Hoban's advice, decided to apply for it as an alternative strategy.

Continue for more about Cannamart's four-year legal battle, including an original document.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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

Latest Stories