Marijuana work group meeting canceled over open-meetings issues, not funeral (VIDEO)

Update: Yesterday, we told you about the last-minute cancellation of the DUID-marijuana working group looking into the issue of THC driving limits. Now, Cannabis Therapy Institute's Laura Kriho has assembled a video showing her and other activists learning the plug was pulled over open-meetings-law concerns, and not, as initially claimed, because of a funeral.

In the video, on view below, Kriho, joined by fellow advocates Robert Chase and Kathleen Chippi, is asked on several occasions to stop recording the encounter. She rejects these requests by saying she's a member of the press, and later namechecks the Cannabis Press Association.

The main action begins at just past the three-minute point, following an introduction by Chase. Two staffers at the Division of Criminal Justice headquarters tell the trio the meeting will not take place due to a funeral -- and one of them eventually walks away from the barrage of questions being thrown at her. Later, Chase returns with a request for minutes from previous group meetings, which he and his cohorts contend were illegal because proper notice wasn't provided about the get-togethers.

Shortly thereafter, supervisor Kim English arrives and reveals that the meeting was postponed to make sure all rules are being followed. However, she notes that lawyers consulted on the matter, including experts at the Colorado Attorney General's office, believe past meetings were on the up and up, because the DUID-marijuana working group isn't a "decision-making body."

Also seen on camera is attorney Aaron Levine, who references panel co-chair Sean McAllister and the Medical Marijuana Industry Group. He asks English about a vote and is told that one will take place at the next meeting, slated for next Wednesday, August 31.

What kind of vote? That question isn't answered. Look below to see the video, followed by our previous coverage.

Original item: 1:44 p.m. August 24: Earlier today, we told you about a scheduled 1 p.m. meeting of the DUID-marijuana working group to consider THC driving limits -- the centerpiece of a bill shelved during the last legislative session. But the plug was pulled at the last minute -- and several activists who showed up at the appointed time, including Cannabis Therapy Institute's Laura Kriho, say the reason had to do with open meetings law questions.

Kriho was joined by fellow activists Kathleen Chippi and Robert Chase. When they arrived at the Division of Criminal Justice offices in advance of the meeting's anticipated start, they were told "the meeting was canceled because everybody was at a funeral," Kriho says.

Chase then asked to speak with someone about an open-meetings law request he'd made for minutes from earlier meetings of the working group. "They told us the woman he needed to talk to wasn't there," Kriho continues. "But then, all of a sudden, she was there. And she said the meeting wasn't canceled because everyone was at a funeral. It was canceled because they wanted to make sure they were compliant with the open-meetings law."

At that point, Kriho notes, a representative of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, whose Michael Elliott is a committee member, arrived. He was told an e-mail was sent to pertinent parties at nine a.m. letting them know about the meeting's cancellation. This factoid bothers Kriho, since Chase had been in contact with many parties involved with the meeting and no one bothered to give him a heads-up. "I came from Boulder, Kathleen came from Nederland, and Robert came from Denver, and none of us were notified," she says. "Everybody else was given a timely warning."

No new date for the meeting has been scheduled.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Med. marijuana patient loses street-sweeping job, benefits, court case after failing drug test."

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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.
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