Medical marijuana lawsuit: Jessica Corry on why dispensary ban shouldn't be on El Paso ballot

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The El Paso County medical marijuana lawsuit, which can be read in its entirety below, was filed on behalf of assorted businesses and individuals in El Paso County against various county officials, including the board of commissioners. Via e-mail, we asked Corry to explain the suit's rationale and potential repercussions. Here's the complete Q&A.

Westword (Michael Roberts): What are you asking for in the lawsuit? A temporary injunction, perhaps?

Jessica Corry: We are asking for DEC and injunctive relief to prevent it from being put to voters, as doing such is unlawful.

WW: What is your argument for why putting this issue on the ballot is improper?

JC: Putting the issue on the ballot is improper because under 1284, a county or other local government can ban (which has its own constitutional issues being challenged in various jurisdictions around the state) OR a county can regulate. 1284 does not allow for a county to regulate and then ban, which is what is being attempted here. On its face, this may sound like a technical question, but the distinction has very serious, real-world implications. Honest, law-abiding business owners reasonably relied on standards as put forth by the county, and are now facing the prospect that they will be punished for such by having their businesses shut down.

No business, whether it is part of a conventional industry or an innovative one such as medical marijuana, should have to operate under such mixed messages. This is about a regulatory taking, plain and simple. The government is illegally removing any and all economic viability of existing businesses.

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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.
Contact: Michael Roberts