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Medical marijuana bust in Brighton made possible by "emergency" moratorium

This weekend's medical marijuana arrests in Brighton, which cops describe as a pot "assembly line" involving a chiropractor, his wife and a caretaker, is only the latest incident playing into the hands of law enforcement types who want the sort of dispensary shut-down likely to be prompted under a bill to be submitted by Representative Tom Massey.

There was also a videotaped theft at a Lakewood dispensary, an attempted robbery at Healthy Choice Wellness Center that resulted in a school lock-down, a Boulder break-in foiled by dispensary owner Pierre "Dr. Reefer" Werner and a murder linked to medical marijuana that prompted concern in Park Hill about a dispensary slated to open there. And those are only the most prominent recent developments.

But it wouldn't have been possible without Brighton city council's December passage of an ordinance described as an "emergency" -- even though it was dealing with an amendment that had been in force since the dawn of the decade.

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The December 15 ordinance -- read it here -- is among the most sweeping in the area. The temporary moratorium extends to June 15, and prohibits "the establishment of a medical marijuana dispensary, place of cultivation, storage and other related activities within the city in any manner during the moratorium; directing the city manager and staff to monitor and review all legislative enactments adopted by the general assembly related to marijuana; conduct such studies as may be required to determine what measures related to medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation, storage and related activities, if any, should be adopted to protect the public healthy, safety and welfare; and make recommendations to the city council as to medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation, storage and related activities within the city of Brighton; declaring an emergency; and setting forth other details related thereto."

The use of the "emergency" terminology to forgo the usual bureaucratic procedures was cited by a judge who struck down a change in the definition of caregiver made by the Denver Board of Health in November -- and afterward, the Fort Collins city council eschewed the "emergency" designation, slowing down before passing its own moratorium.

However, Brighton successfully rammed through its ordinance, which hasn't been challenged by any medical marijuana advocacy organizations. And now, the community has provided invaluable publicity to those factions eager to tighten down current regulations.

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