CO Supreme Court - Colorado's current laws do NOT protect MMJ employees private, off-duty use - even when not impaired at work (Coats v. DISH)
This morning, the Colorado Supreme Court decided in Coats v. DISH (attached), that Colorado’s current laws – the most powerful in the world – do NOT protect a medical marijuana patient-employees private, off duty use of MMJ, even if they are not impaired at work.
Quote from the decision: “The supreme court holds that under the plain language of section 24-34-402.5, C.R.S. (2014), Colorado’s “lawful activities statute,” the term “lawful” refers only to those activities that are lawful under both state and federal law. Therefore, employees who engage in an activity such as medical marijuana use that is permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law are not protected by the statute. We therefore affirm the court of appeals’ opinion.”
United States of America v. Ha Do et. al.
Jul 31, 2012
In October of 2011 Federal and local law enforcement agents conducted a raid on a Denver warehouse suspected of illegally (not in compliance with Colorado state, local, and administrative regulations) growing marijuana plants for medical marijuana dispensaries or centers. Four defendants were charged with a violation of 21 U.S.C. 841 (more than 1000 plants), which carries a prison sentence of 10 years to life. Although a few other smaller raids have been conducted in the last year, this represents the first, and largest concentrated effort by Federal law enforcement agencies attempting to assert and enforce the Federal Controlled Substances Act within the State of Colorado since the medical marijuana craze began in 2008-2009. Without discussing the merit or lack of merit of this Federal prosecution, and regardless of the outcome, the arrests have a chilling effect on the medical marijuana commercial community. After receiving this case, The Evans Firm ceased all representation of any medical marijuana commercial enterprises. As we like to explain to clients who call our office for these services, we have never seen a business plan or a return on investment so high that it would be worth risking spending a life time in prison. (You don't get to spend your business profits in prison).
People of the State of Colorado v. Ronald Smith
Sep 19, 2011
In December of 2010, the City and County of Denver filed criminal charges of 2nd Degree Burglary and Criminal Mischief against Mr. Ronald Smith, a well known and respected lobbyist in Colorado with (really goes without saying) no prior criminal history. The allegations involved Mr. Smith breaking into his ex-wife's home and causing property damage. During the case, several key pieces of evidence were either destroyed or not collected by the police. Additionally, a fingerprint was recovered at the scene that did not belong to Mr. Smith, nor the two occupants of the home. Mr. Smith's whereabouts during the time period of this alleged burglary were accounted for by several witnesses, and even the cell phone tower records obtained by police showed that Mr. Smith was never at his ex-wife's home. This case is currently under appeal after a guilty verdict was returned after a week long trial that involved over 60 witnesses in September of 2011. We are hopeful that the Court of Appeal finds reversible error made during the motions hearings and trial so that Mr. Smith may regain his status.
Rueben Reyes v. City of Evans, Colorado et. al.
Nov 28, 2010
In November of 2010, Rueben Reyes led police on a long high-speed chase in Northern Colorado. Although he unarmed, the 911 dispatch operator told officers chasing Reyes that he was armed and dangerous, and would not be going down without a fight. After they were erroneously told this information, officers disregarded many protocols and safety procedures on handling and interacting with people they come into contact with on the job. Although Reyes is accused of shooting and killing Officer Sam Brownlee of the Weld County Sheriff's Office, the facts of this case seem to suggest otherwise. Beginning with the fact that Mr. Reyes had absolutely no weapons on him, he was then pulled from his car, surrounded by four officers, each one holding a separate limb of the 160 lbs. Mr. Reyes, as he was brought to the ground. Then apparently completing a feat of magic, Mr. Reyes somehow gets his non-dominant hand free from the officer holding it, reaches across his entire body while laying face down, and removes a .45 caliber that is supposedly secured in a locking holster. He then fires that gun three times, though none of the four officers holding Mr. Reyes see him do it, much less say that they lost control of his hand. To add to those facts, three police agencies including the Colorado Bureau of Investigation failed to perform the necessary (and simple) tests that would have confirmed their theory that Mr. Reyes, and not another officer, was holding the gun responsible for killing Officer Brownlee - a simple fingerprint test. Its not as if they did the test and the results were inconclusive - they flat out did not do the test. Now the .45 caliber gun is either missing or destroyed as Weld County Officials did not produce it at an officially scheduled evidence viewing and now refuse to provide its whereabouts. Mr. Reyes was shot 3 times at point blank range, then left lying on the ground for an extended period of time to bleed to death, without any one administering basic first aid. The investigation into this case is ongoing.