Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Economic Crime Unit is on the Case

June 29, 2011

Dear Mr. Donahue:

The Economic Crime Unit has received your complaint against various staff members at the state Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division. Your issue appears to be the failure to respond to your requests.

Personnel at the division have related that you were informed that two letters addressed to you have been left at the division’s reception desk for you. You apparently had not given an address where the letters could be sent.

You may wish to visit the division office or call the phone number, 303-205-8421 for further information.

Yours truly,

Pat Wegner
Economic Crime Unit

Title Board Challenge

June 22, 2011
Colorado Secretary of State Attn: Title Board
1700 Broadway, Suite 200
Denver, CO 80290
Phone: (303) 894-2200, press “3”
Fax: (303) 869-4861

Dear Sirs:

Pursuant to CRS 1-40-107 (1), this is a motion for rehearing on the ballot title and submission clauses for proposed initiatives 2011-2012 #29 through 2011-2012 #36 – "Use and Regulation of Marijuana". I am a registered elector in the state of Colorado. I believe the titles and submission clauses set by the Title Board at their hearing on June 15, 2011 do not fairly express the true meaning and intent of the proposed initiatives.

I. The title is misleading.
The title contains the phrase "providing for the regulation of marijuana in a manner similar to the use of alcohol." This is misleading to voters, as the proposed initiatives more closely model the Medical Marijuana Code than the Alcohol Code. I propose changing that language to "providing for the regulation of marijuana in a manner similar to medical marijuana with enforcement through the Department of Revenue."

1) The word "alcohol" is only mentioned twice in the proposed ballot initiatives.

In 1 (a), it says it shall be "taxed in a manner similar to alcohol". In 1 (b), it says marijuana shall be "regulated in a manner similar to alcohol", but in only 5 different areas: a person will need to show proof of age to purchase marijuana; sales to minors shall be illegal; driving under the influence of marijuana shall be illegal; "criminal actors" will not be allowed to sell marijuana; and marijuana will be subject to additional regulations "to ensure that consumers are informed and protected."

2) The Medical Marijuana Code is mentioned repeatedly in the proposed initiatives.

Section 5 (a) (II) states that a person "licensed under the Colorado Medical Marijuana Code" shall have a discounted licensing fee for a retail marijuana store. Section 5 (b) states that the Department or Revenue shall have as a "primary consideration" whether or not the applicant for a marijuana retail store is licensed under the "Colorado Medical Marijuana Code" and has "complied consistently" with the
"Colorado Medical Marijuana Code." This means if you have a license for a medical marijuana retail store, you are almost automatically guaranteed a license for a retail marijuana store. This indicates the clear intent of the proponents to model their initiatives after the Medical Marijuana Code, not the Liquor Code. Licensed retail medical marijuana stores are given preferential treatment because they are already assumed to be in compliance with the bulk of regulations that will be promulgated for retail marijuana stores. There are no similar provisions for preferential treatment or discounted licensing fees for retail liquor stores, as there would be if these initiatives intended to regulate marijuana in a manner "similar to alcohol."

3) The proposed initiatives give broad power to regulate retail marijuana stores to the Department of Revenue, which also controls medical marijuana licensing in the state. Even though the DOR does oversee alcohol as well, marijuana is much more similar to medical marijuana than it is alcohol, so it is logical to assume the DOR will use its broad powers to create rules which model its medical marijuana rules, not its alcohol rules.

4) The proposed initiatives set a limit on possession of marijuana by consumers of 1 ounce and 6 plants.

However, there is no limit on the amount of alcohol that can be purchased in a retail alcohol store. This is a fundamental difference in the regulation of the two products. If alcohol consumers were only allowed to purchase one ounce of vodka at a time, it would require an entirely different set of regulations. The Liquor Code would be far different from the one we have today. This fundamental difference in quantity limits means it would be misleading to voters to say marijuana was regulated in a manner "similar to alcohol" under the proposed initiatives. This misleads the public into thinking that there are no limits on marijuana possession, just as there are none on alcohol

5) The proposed initiatives will likely result in the need for the Department of Revenue to create a database of marijuana consumers, so that they can track their purchases to make sure that consumers are not exceeding the limits. There is no such database required for liquor store sales.

6) Marijuana is illegal under Federal Law, and thus cannot be regulated like alcohol, a legal substance. To say it is "similar to alcohol" misleads voters into thinking that marijuana is legal under federal law.

7) Marijuana consumers risk federal arrest and therefore will have need for more privacy rules than alcohol consumers.

II. The titles include an impermissible catch phrase
The phrase "similar to alcohol" is a catch phrase used to appeal to the emotions of people who want marijuana to be treated with leniency. The use of this catch phrase will mislead voters into thinking that the regulation will be similar to alcohol. However, because of the substantial differences between marijuana and alcohol regulation outlined above, it is clear that marijuana will be treated much stricter than alcohol and much more similarly to medical marijuana by the Department of Revenue. The use of a catch phrase is forbidden in titles. It will mislead voters into voting in favor of a leniency in laws similar to alcohol, when in reality they will be voting for much greater scrutiny and stricter regulations than retail liquor stores. Medical marijuana is now regulated stricter than plutonium in Colorado.
In conclusion, the titles as set are misleading and contain an impermissible catch phrase. I request that my Motion for Rehearing be granted, or, alternatively, for the Title Board to amend the titles of the proposed initiatives to state "providing for the regulation of marijuana in a manner similar to medical marijuana with enforcement through the Department of Revenue."


Corey Donahue
Certificate of Service
The above Motion for Rehearing was emailed to the proponents of the initiatives
Mason Tvert, SAFER
Brian Vicente, Sensible

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Crazy for Justice crazy enough to file 30 criminal charges against the MMED

On Friday Corey Donahue, of Crazy for Justice, filed 30 formal criminal charges against the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division for violating Colorado Open Records Act. These charges were filed with the Denver District Attorney’s Office. Dan Hartman head of the state's Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division and Julie Postlethwait the MMED’s Public Information Officer along with Mia Tuschimoto and Marco Vasquez, who is known for making a "deceitful promise,” in relation to the murder of Ismael Mena, were all named as suspects in the charges.

“I just want to see what my government is doing,” said Donahue, “but they are denying me and the people of Colorado access to records that rightfully belong to the people.” These charges were filled one week before the MMED rules are set to come in to affect.

“It should have been easy to see the records, but I also suspected that they would be worried about what I would find, as this is an unconstitutional and illegal entity of the Government of Colorado,” according to Donahue.

Donahue’s trouble gaining access to our public records began two weeks ago. On Monday June 13 Crazy for Justice filed 30 open records requests with the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division. This request was denied by the MMED and as pursuant to state law Donahue filed a written request as to why access was denied for each of the 30 requests. As Colorado sunshine laws require that a response for denial “must be answered within three working days.” On Thursday June 16, the fourth working day after the requests was submitted and stamped received by the MMED, Donahue along with community leader Miguel Lopez returned to the MMED to view the public records or inquire once again as to the denial of access. They were greeted by Dan Hartman who said, “We would have responded but there was no way to reach you.” This was explained in light of the fact that Mr. Hartman was provided with a letter stamped received by the MMED on June 13 which read,

“This is a formal request in to the reason why access was denied to a public document(s) as maintained by Colorado’s Open Record Act? Please notify me in writing as to the reason(s) for this denial of access within three working days. I can be reached at my email”

As the penalty for violation of the Colorado Open Record Act is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $100 and/or 90 days in prison and no reason for denial was ever produced, Donahue then called the Denver Police Department in order to press charges. After many calls to police officials, Officer Padia of the DPD was dispatched to the MMED. “Officer Padia handled the complaint very professionally and is the type of officer Denver can be proud to have” Corey was, “certain that justice would be delivered.”

However this hope was quickly quashed. After Officer Padia took a statement from Corey he went to talk to the MMED and a call was put in to Sergeant Schimidt to oversee criminal complaint. Sergeant Schimidt entered the MMED and quickly ordered Officer Padia to cease investigating and leave. “He was there for less than a minute and told Officer Padia to leave and for me to contact the AG’s office, as this matter would fall under their jurisdiction,” according to Donahue.

Dejected but not finished Donahue then went directly to the AG’s office to file charges. There Terri Connell, the AG’s secretary, refused to file and said it is a civil matter and that refused inform who to file charges with. “I didn’t go down there to have a secretary tell me that they can’t help and she can’t give me legal advice. I went there to see pursue justice, the MMED is denying access to records that rightfully belong to the people of Colorado at the same time when a lawsuit is pending to challenge the constitutionality of HB-1284 and the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division, but only Officer Padia was willing to uphold the law.”

The filing Friday of the 30 formal charges now brings this matter to the Denver District Attorney’s office and it will be up to the Denver County DA to see that the government divisions and officials are accountable to the people of Colorado.