Medical marijuana: Papa John's delivery driver calls cops on legal patient over weed

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Not to be too stoner-cliché here, but I always thought Pizza Delivery Guy is pretty universally seen as a ganja-friendly career. I mean, I've had countless stoned drivers show up at my door and been tipping delivery guys with nugs for years. But maybe it's time to rethink that, at least when ordering from Papa John's.

It had been a long Friday working in front of the computer, and the last thing Rick Smith wanted to do was go back to work in the kitchen and make dinner. So, as a bazillion other people in this country do when they'e culinarily challenged, he ordered in.

Smith says he logged back on to his computer and picked a pizza to be delivered from a nearby Papa John's on South Chambers, paying for both the pie and pre-tipping the driver online. He then sent his nine-year-old daughter upstairs to take a bath while they waited for the pizza to arrive.

Back downstairs, Smith -- a Colorado medical marijuana cardholder -- smoked a quick bowl and then sat down to play some video games. A few minutes later, the pizza guy showed up at his door with his 'za and a two-liter bottle of Sprite.

Not a half-hour later, Smith says he heard pounding at the door. "I immediately knew that it was the police knocking by the sound of it," Smith says. "I opened they door, and there was an Aurora Police officer."

Smith says the policeman explained that dispatch had received a call from a Papa John's pizza delivery driver saying there were small children around people smoking pot. The cop told Smith that the department policy is to check up on situations where children may be in danger.

Floored, Smith pulled out his medical card and explained to the police officer what had happened. He also pointed out that the driver had likely seen the children's playhouse in the driveway. Smith said the police officer went out to his cruiser to verify his red card, returning a few minutes later with a sorry.

"He realized it was a silly call and that it wasn't a big deal. That's what he said: 'This is not a big deal,'" Smith recalls. "He apologized for disturbing our dinner and left without even writing up an incident report.

"Anyway, after the officer leaves, I'm furious. I called Papa John's and complained to the general manager. She said that it is basically my word against his and said he had been driving for them for a long time." A 9News report on Smith's experience included a quote from a Colorado Papa John's spokesperson: "Papa John's of Colorado wants to stand behind the decision that this delivery driver made. He was acting as a concerned citizen and for what he believes was the best interests of our community."

But Tish Muldoon, spokeswoman for Papa John's corporate office in Kentucky, offers a different spin. She says the company's delivery driver handbook addresses what drivers should do if they are "potentially a victim of a crime," but adds that the policy is more geared toward drivers being robbed than anything else.

She also notes that my call was one of the strangest she's ever received.

"Our drivers have the rights or obligations that any other private citizen would feel if they think they are witnessing a crime or a scene of the crime," she stresses. "In short, our handbook does not address if an employee reports a potential crime while in the line of their work."

Which is fine and well, except this wasn't a crime in progress at all. It was a legal patient using marijuana in the privacy of his own home.

Smith says he wants the driver to face some sort of consequences for his actions, but has been told nothing will happen. And while he hopes a district manager will reach out to him anyway, he hasn't heard a word from the company at this writing. We'll update the post if he's contacted. In the meantime, I think I'm going to be ordering takeout.

Here's the 9News report:

More from our Marijuana archives: "Marijuana PTSD study roadblock example of feds' schizophrenia, says Brian Vicente" and "Medical marijuana patients face 5-to-10 years in prison for owning a gun, says ATF".

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