How I Helped My Clients Form Legal Dispensaries and Grow Operations During Legalization in Colorado

Posted on June 08, 2016 by Jeffrey Feiler

On a brisk winter's day in December, 2009, I was in Boulder, Colorado and learned that the United States Department of Justice was going to issue a Memorandum to their United States Attorneys throughout the nation, directing them not to utilize Law Enforcement nor Prosecutorial resources to pursue individuals and businesses possessing licenses to grow and distribute marijuana in States which have laws permitting such conduct and have a robust system to enforce those laws. It is now known as the famous "Ogden Memorandum".

Colorado had already passed a Constitutional Amendment in 2001 permitting Medical Marijuana, however, during the Bush Administration no one dared to test the Amendment. In 2009, the Obama Administration and then Attorney General Eric Holder had a different view, respecting State's rights. Entrepreneurs then commenced business in a vague legal paradigm under a "caregiver" system to comport with the language of the Amendment. I was called upon to give legal advice in these unique circumstances. My background as a former prosecutor under Janet Reno and as a Criminal Defense Attorney since 1985 enabled me to protect my clients.

In early 2010, the Colorado Legislature had to address the issue. I attended and participated in numerous public meetings whereby the law was being formulated. Finally, in June, 2010, the Legislature enacted HB 1284, which was a comprehensive law dealing with Licensure and legalities. Fortunately, I had prepared my clients, and in 23 days, by July 1, 2010, they had "established" operational business and opened lawful Dispensary and Grow operations. Others who were not so diligent had to wait a full year, until July 1, 2011 to even submit an Application for Licensure.

While the process to obtain the State License was ongoing, I likewise focused my attention to certain places where my client was interested in opening their Dispensary and Grow operations. Specifically, Denver, Boulder County, the City of Boulder, and the City of Longmont. Colorado (like Florida) is a "home rule" State, and each County, City, and incorporated Municipality has a right to make their own Ordinances (which must be generally consistent with the State but may have many other provisions) or even to ban marijuana from their town. So, while I was involved with the State process, I was also attending and participating in the formation of the Local regulations. Again, this involved Public Hearings and revisions of proposed language. I worked 16 hour days for several months to keep up with all of the proposals and changes in an attempt to understand and predict where the laws were heading. It was an intense, amazing experience. In the end, my clients made smart moves, took risks, encountered successes and failures and on July 1, 2010 were lawfully in the medical marijuana business.

Contact me at (305) 662-5663 to get prepared if Florida legalizes medical marijuana in November!

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