Update: Plants 4 Life, Castle Rock's only medical marijuana dispensary, had been ordered to close by 7 p.m. yesterday in accordance with the MMJ retail-sales ban passed by the town last week. But late in the afternoon, attorney Rob Corry, who's been fighting on behalf of Plants 4 Life since last year, sent a letter to Castle Rock's town attorney announcing his intention to file a temporary restraining order in an effort to halt the action.
Corry has been down this path before. A temporary restraining order filed against Loveland, which passed a similar ban, was rejected last month. In an interview with Westword seen in its entirety below, Corry stressed that this ruling didn't set precedent, but said, "We need to learn from what's developed in other cases." He added that the portion of House Bill 1284, the state's main MMJ regulatory measure, that allows municipalities to prohibit dispensaries by governmental or popular vote "makes a preliminary injunction more difficult."
Nonetheless, Corry is taking another swing. Look below to see his letter to the town attorney (also copied to Colorado Attorney General John Suthers), followed by our previous coverage:
Robert J. Slentz, Castle Rock Town Attorney
John Suthers, Colorado Attorney General
As discussed previously, please be advised that my clients Plants 4 Life and Medical Marijuana patients will file a lawsuit today against the Town of Castle Rock seeking a Temporary Restraining Order and Prelininary Injunction regarding the Town's putative Prohibition of Medical Marijuana-related activities.
We will forward you the filed complaint with case number, and other information when available. Please contact me with any questions... Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Robert J. Corry, Jr. Attorney at Law
Original item, 9:01 a.m. April 12: It's been well over a year since Castle Rock first tried to close Plants 4 Life, the community's sole medical marijuana dispensary -- but the center fought back time and again. Now, though, Castle Rock's passage of a MMJ retail sales ban appears to have sealed its doom.
Attorney Rob Corry says Plants 4 Life has been ordered to close by 7 p.m. today -- although he says "we're assessing our legal options."
Corry admits to being "very disappointed" by the Castle Rock vote -- but not especially surprised.
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"The campaign against medical marijuana really was just reprehensibly fraudulent," he maintains. Opponents "put out a flier that said if residents voted in favor of medical marijuana, they were voting to put it in residences, in neighborhoods. The truth is the diametric opposite of that. They voted against retailed, regulated, taxed establishments -- and by implication, in favor of prohibition. But they also voted in favor of putting it in homes and neighborhoods, unregulated and untaxed" -- a reference to the caretaker system, which remains legal in the community under Colorado law.
"The fact that the other side couldn't run an honest campaign speaks volumes," he continues, "and I guess they got away with it, at least for now. We didn't have the time or the resources to call them out on it properly."
Another challenge: The election took place during April, when turnout is typically much lower than during November votes.
"It was hard to motivate people to come to the polls," he concedes. "And, of course, you're fighting against the demographics of Castle Rock. It's in the center of Douglas County, one of the most conservative, heavily Republican counties in the state."
What's next? Corry says he could file for a temporary injunction on behalf of Plants 4 Life -- the same tactic that failed in Loveland last month. "That wasn't precedent, but we need to learn from what's developed in other cases," he allows.
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Another angle: "Plants 4 Life has been around for quite some time, and I think they have a decent claim for damages or compensation for a governmental taking." Such a filing "wouldn't be an emergency matter," he notes. "It would be more of a long-term effort to get compensation from the government for taking property away."
Would the provision of House Bill 1284, the state's primary regulatory measure, that allows community's to ban MMJ retail sales via a vote by local officials or the citizenry as a whole undermine a takings filing? "I think HB 1284 makes a preliminary injunction more difficult," he concedes, "but a takings claim is simply compensation for something the government has taken. Now, I'm sure state law allows the government to take your home and put a railroad through it -- but that doesn't mean they don't have to pay you anything for it." The bill may be silent in regard to compensation, "but the constitutional principles of government say you can't take something away without just compensation for that property."
In the meantime, there are no clues about what's to come on Plants 4 Life's website. At present, it features only a plea to vote down marijuana prohibition on April 5. Which a majority of Castle Rock residents chose not to do.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Carol Boigon's new TV ad says marijuana dispensaries "not a jobs plan" (VIDEO)."