New federal lawsuits aim to quash CO marijuana industry

Oklahoma and Nebraska aren’t alone anymore in their fight to upend Colorado’s recreational marijuana industry.

A new player, the Washington DC-based Safe Streets Alliance, has filed a pair of lawsuits in Colorado federal district court this week in an attempt to wipe out rec businesses in the state. (You can read the full lawsuits here and here.)

“Safe Streets has brought these suits with one overriding purpose — to end the sale of recreational marijuana in this state,” David Thompson, managing partner of Cooper and Kirk Law Firm, said during a press conference in Colorado on Thursday morning.

The suits name multiple defendants, including several marijuana businesses and executives such as Alternative Holistic Healing, a chain that owns three rec cultivation facilities around Colorado, and Medical Marijuana of the Rockies, a MMJ dispensary in the mountain town of Frisco that is building a rec store now.

Other defendants named in the suits include Gov. John Hickenlooper, the Pueblo County Commission, Bank of the West, and more.

The suits contend that the rec industry in the state has wrought damage to the plaintiffs, including a drop in property values for a family outside Pueblo and a loss of business for a Holiday Inn in Frisco.

The suits argue that federal law supersedes any state law, and therefore the federal government needs to enforce the Controlled Substances Act and close down the recreational cannabis industry.

“Federal law is the supreme law of the land, and under federal law, it is a felony to sell marijuana in this state,” Thompson said. “Those who ignore this bedrock principle of American law do so at their peril.”

Advocates of the rec industry held their own press conference Thursday morning to denounce the suits as a stunt by cannabis foes.

“If drug cartels relied on litigation instead of violence, this is the lawsuit they would file,” said Mason Tvert, communications director of Marijuana Policy Project.

University of Denver law professor Sam Kamin said Congress never intended to undercut state sovereignty with the Controlled Substances Act, and asserted that Colorado’s regulations regarding the rec industry are within the bounds of federal rules.

“It’s going to be tough for (Safe Streets) to show that Colorado’s regulations are pre-empted by federal law,” Kamin predicted.

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11 comments on “New federal lawsuits aim to quash CO marijuana industry
  1. GrapeApe on

    Safe Streets wants Black Markets? Why don’t they name every person THAT VOTED FOR IT TO BE LEGAL!!! Let the Feds step right up at this point in time and try to tell 1/2 the country that ALREADY voted they have no say and the others that are about to vote, they too have no say. Go ahead feds, then tell us about how much you covet states rights. MFer’s

  2. ElleGee on

    The toothpaste is out of the tube. No matter how hard ‘safe streets’ tries, they are not going to prevail. You can’t mandate behavior.

  3. Jerry Cook on

    The CSA, Title 21 of the US Code, Section 903 says states can control/regulate listings differently to the Fed. By by lawsuits, on that alone.

    Not to mention the Fed Hypocrisy of saying there is NO MED USE in the CSA..while also having patents filed FOR MED USE, and patients FOR MED USE, given out to some for over 20 years, in a big can of 500 pre rolled joints per month.

    The Fed & the law suit crew are insane. Thank you states & citizens for not bowing down to insanity, based on opposition profits.
    Truth based profits are where its going, and thats the end of it no matter what insanity tries to block it with. Citizens are smarter than you think.

  4. SillyRabbit on

    Seems a lot of defendants are being named …. Don’t see this going anyplace fast, especially with all the other developments happening like Washington DC becoming legal …. The Nation’s Capital!

  5. Teacake on

    Is anyone doing the journalism to see if big pharmaceuticals are behind the government’s efforts to “quash” the marijuana industry? My question really is, WHEN are the pharmaceuticals going to elbow their way in to this pot of gold?

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