Colorado is on the frontline of the battle to make the legalization of medical marijuana work. While medical marijuana is legal in the state, its legalization hasn't made the road for patients and those who distribute their medication an easy one. The fight continues for marijuana growers and dispensary owners to feel as mere business owners instead of drug criminals in Colorado.
A CNBC report followed a specific Fort Collins marijuana dispensary business and the struggles it faces. While there are many medical marijuana supporters in Colorado, there are still the many who have extreme fears about what legalizing medical marijuana could mean for the state. That makes running a dispensary business difficult.
Though it would seem like the legalization of medical marijuana in the state would clear the way for users and business owners to use and distribute the drug, confusion remains regarding the legality of the drug. The federal government has led to local officials questioning state laws of legalization.
But those local officials have personal reasons for challenging the state's legalization as well, and the situation in Fort Collins is a prime example of that. The Larimer County Sherriff, along with the support of other marijuana opponents, pushed hard enough to arrange a special election regarding the city's laws about medical marijuana. In November, the special election resulted in residents voting against the legalization of further commercial dispensaries in the city.
The owner of a Fort Collins dispensary disagrees with the way opponents approached the recent vote against commercial dispensaries in the city. He stresses that he is not a criminal. He's a hard worker who sees dispensary work as an exciting way to help people in his community. He insists that he's gone the extra mile to comply with the extensive rules set by the Colorado Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division.
Fortunately for his business, it will get grandfathered into the city's old laws. Any potential new dispensary owners, however, are seemingly out of luck at this point.
Colorado marijuana laws are confusing. They are consistently changing, which can lead to misunderstandings and criminal charges. Don't hesitate to work with a knowledgeable, aggressive criminal defense attorney if you are facing or worried about facing drug charges.
CNBC: "Pot Shop Owners: We're Not Criminals," John Moore, Dec. 14, 2011