‘Vague’ Medical Marijuana Dispensary Rules Lead to a Colorado Lawsuit

By Anne Holland

Although Colorado has more than 250-pages of formal rulings and legal guidelines around medical marijuana dispensary operations, turns out the guidelines aren’t specific enough to keep center owners from trouble.

Colorado Springs dispensary owners Michael Kopta and Alvida Hillery have filed a lawsuit against the state’s Department of Revenues claiming they face criminal charges because the rules are too vague. Seems that they were busted for planting their regulation six-seedlings per patient at the time that prospective customers sent in applications, rather than waiting to plant until after the applications were formally approved.

The practice makes sense, because you can’t serve your customers properly if you have to wait too long for plants to grow. But the duo knew common sense and the law aren’t always the same thing, so they had their lawyer Sean McAllister send a formal request for legal clarification to Colorado’s Department of Revenue this March. The answer (which you can see reproduced here) was a non-answer. “The question presented for position statement lacks specificity, in that you have not cited the applicable rule that would be relevant to this question,” wrote Laura K. Harris, Director, Medical Marijauna Enforcement Division.

No doubt Harris’ answer followed departmental guidelines. But, it must have felt infuriatingly vague to Kopta and Hillery. Now, in response to being busted for criminal activities despite their attempt to figure out how to follow the law, they’ve filed a lawsuit against the Department of Revenue alleging that lack of clarity lead to their trouble.

Let the finger-pointing begin….