Arapahoe County District Judge Christopher Cross ruled Wednesday that the city of Centennial could not use federal law as a justification for closing a medical marijuana dispensary.
In October, the city of Centennial, Colorado forced CannaMart, a medical marijuana dispensary, to close in accordance with a city ordinance that banned medical marijuana facilities. In response, two medical marijuana caregivers and three patients sued Centennial on the grounds that banning dispensaries is unconstitutional under the 2000 ballot initiative that legalized medical marijuana.
In his ruling, Cross stated "The city of Centennial cannot use the potential violation of a federal law to order a business legally operating under our state constitution to cease and desist its business,"
The plaintiffs' lawyer, Robert J. Corry Jr., says the case could set important precedents; "This is so much bigger than medical marijuana. It's about whether a local government can circumvent a voter approved state constitutional amendment to prohibit an entire industry from operating at all."
The ruling may effect several other Colorado municipalities that have banned medical marijuana dispensaries on the grounds that they are illegal under federal law.
Matt Brown, executive director of Coloradans for Medical Marijuana Regulation, says the CannaMart decision "underscores the need for state-level regulation" that takes pressure off of municipalities, and provides specific guidelines for what constitutes legal practices.
Senator Chris Romer has laid out draft registration for medical marijuana reform that he intends to introduce during the 2010 legislative session.