Broncos owner Pat Bowlen had to suffer along with the rest of us as his team got crushed in the Super Bowl. And now, PDB Sports, the company that handles the squad's business on his behalf, is being sued for discrimination and defamation.
The plaintiff is Cannabis University, whose founder, Michelle LaMay, says a vehicle was ejected from two home playoff games in January simply because the word "cannabis" was printed on it. Photos, details and the complaint below.
The matters at the center of the suit, which also names the Metropolitan Stadium Football District, took place on the mornings of January 12 and January 19, prior to the Broncos' victories over San Diego and New England, respectively.
After the first of these incidents, LaMay told Westword that ticket-holder Freddy Moore of marijuana-centric 1 Blunt Radio, an Internet program, was among those who'd ridden to the game in a Winnebago emblazoned with both the program's logo and the Cannabis University name. The plan was to broadcast during the run-up to the game -- but something went wrong.
LaMay wasn't present on the 12th, but she was listening in until the feed went down. In response to a text from her asking if there was a problem, Moore (who didn't respond to an interview request) sent a reply that included "a photo of a Denver policeman on a motorcycle," she recalls. "And there was obviously somebody else there -- a representative who said their presence was 'insulting.'"
Why? The reason, maintains the lawsuit, was the word "cannabis" on the side of the vehicle.
In the end, the suit reveals that Moore left "when the Denver police exerted their authority and threatened to tow the vehicle as requested by the Defendants' representatives." And the same thing happened the next week.
Rather than quietly accepting these actions, LaMay has gone to court. Her lawsuit argues that "Cannabis University was defamed and damaged in a public place by the Defendants: The Defendants' restraint of the plaintiff's speech violated the First Amendment rights of a corporation; and the Defendants' complaint and enforcement was subjective and inequitable."
The suit goes on to stress that "the word 'cannabis' is not an obscene word," adding that "the people in the 'tailgating party,' including the owner of the vehicle, who are disabled, of color, and of a certain creed, were humiliated and shamed and retaliated against in a public place and clearly discriminated against."
As such, the complaint asks for a monetary reward and punitive damages in the hope that such payments will effectively "stop further discriminatory policies of the defendants against legal businesses and people of a certain color and creed and limited physical capabilities."
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Here's the text of the lawsuit, as captured in the three images below.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Marijuana archive circa July 2011: "Marijuana: No punishment for possession under Michelle LaMay's new ballot proposal."