Letters | The war on dispensaries


The war on dispensaries

I remember about a year ago Sen. Chris Romer started courting the local dispensaries and medical marijuana organizations under the ruse that he was going to “pass reasonable legislation to legitimize our growing industry.” As we listened to his proposals, it became clear that his only concern was to make a name for himself as “the one who would tame the Wild West” and his concern for the patient or local industry was a deception to further his political goals. His voiced disdain for the “Wild West” makes him more of an embarrassment to Colorado than a representative of Colorado.

As local dispensaries and others, such as American Medical Marijuana Standards Association (AMMSA) President Larry Hill, met with Sen. Romer, it became clear the senator wanted us to sharpen the knife he planned to stab us in the back with. We tried to explain to him that this industry was quite capable of developing its own regulatory standards for the protection of the patient and the public at large, but Sen. Romer had other ideas — every transaction videotaped; card-swipe technology into a central database recording every transaction; a police investigation of any patient purchasing more that two ounces per week.

Local organizations and dispensaries soon had to distance themselves from the senator to maintain their own integrity. About this time the senator picked up another group of friends to “play” with — California dispensaries. Sen. Romer continues to add as much startup cost to opening a dispensary as he can, his latest proposal a $50,000 dispensary license.

The California chain dispensaries are his most ardent supporters. Support for his proposals at the local level, whether patient or dispensary, is virtually nonexistent.

From Sen. Romer’s own remarks his intent is easy to ascertain: “I plan to reduce the number of dispensaries in Colorado by 50 percent within a year.”

Did you know that 50 percent of the dispensaries in Colorado are California chains? Vincent Carroll’s March 26 article in The Denver Post indicates which 50 percent the senator would like to get rid of: “Romer remains committed to regulatory standards that squeeze out what he calls [a] ‘knucklehead’ dispensary model run by people with no expertise and not enough capital.”

It is sad that he views his own constituents as “knuckleheads without enough capital.” It is the working poor who put him into office.

Later on, Mr. Carroll’s article states:

“He foresees dispensaries as sophisticated ‘wellness’ centers regulated as thorsee oughly as casinos, where
every transaction is videotaped.”

Every transaction videotaped? Ever heard of HIPAA or
the Fourth Amendment, Sen. Romer?

“Sophisticated wellness centers” is code for “huge
start-up expenses.” This “sophistication” he has proposed includes
requiring that 90 percent of a dispensary’s medicine be grown on site.
So your building store front and grow operation would cost $5,000 to
$10,000 a month alone.

It is crystal clear what you are trying to pull, Sen. Romer. Mom
and Pop, the working poor and the rest of us knucklehead riffraff can go
to hell, while you pursue your Walgreens, Wal-Mart and Wall Street
version of “sophisticated wellness centers.”

Colorado medical marijuana dispensary owner

Editor’s note:
Boulder Weekly rarely agrees to publish a letter to the editor
anonymously. In this case, the author of the letter felt that he and his
business would be targeted if this letter could be attributed to him.
Given the current political climate, we agreed to run the letter
anonymously, after confirming his identity.

Pot at the Tea Party

(Re: “Pot at the Tea
Party,” Danish Plan, April 22.) Tea Partyers who truly believe in
liberty and limited government oppose the war on some drugs.

The drug war is in
large part a war on marijuana, by far the most popular illicit drug.
Marijuana prohibition has failed miserably as a deterrent. Lifetime use
of marijuana is higher in the United States than any European Union
country, yet America is one of the few Western countries that still
criminalize citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis. Unlike alcohol,
marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it
share the addictive properties of tobacco.

The short-term health effects of marijuana are
inconsequential compared to the long-term effects of criminal records.
Unfortunately, marijuana represents the counterculture to many
Americans. In subsidizing the prejudices of culture warriors, government
is subsidizing organized crime. The drug war’s distortion of immutable
laws of supply and demand causes big money to grow on little trees. The
only clear winners in the war on marijuana are drug cartels and
shameless tough-on-drugs politicians who’ve built careers confusing drug
prohibition’s collateral damage with a relatively harmless plant. The
big losers in this battle are the taxpayers, who have been deluded into
believing big government is the appropriate response to nontraditional
consensual vices.

Sharpe, Common Sense for Drug Policy/ Washington, D.C.

A lot of earnest verbiage
has gone into analyzing the so-called “tea party,” most of it fatuous
and overwrought. The Democrats are expected to quake at the prospect of
losing many current incumbents to this motley rabble of angry voters.

The tea party’s
inchoate anti-government sentiments do play into the hands of corporate
oligarchs, who stand to benefit from whatever political influence the
tea party’s “agenda” may have in Washington. This is why, of course, the
GOP spin machine plays them up for all they’re worth. And this is why
the left smells a whiff of fascism in the political air.

Still, the tea-party
phenomenon will likely dissipate after November’s elections, in which
the Dems will probably comfortably prevail. What local commentator Paul
Danish likes to call the “marijuana party” is actually larger than the
tea party and better represents the generally progressive
inclinations of most Americans, especially the younger generations.

In truth, the
over-hyped tea party “movement” is rather shallow and largely
media-driven. It’s manipulated by cynical GOP operatives, who are so
desperate to be relevant that they resort to exploiting these naïve
populists, just as they did the now dispirited Evangelical movement.

The tea partyers
aren’t fascists themselves; they’re simply dupes of the very system they
say they oppose.


Danish does a nice job of trying to get the Tea Partyers to back
pot legalization, but continues to dodge the most basic question about
health insurance: When people opt not to have health insurance, then get
sick or have an accident and can’t afford to pay for it, who pays?

Unless you’re willing
to let your fellow citizens bleed to death outside of locked hospital
doors, then you agree that we, as a society, should cover the costs.
Which is what we do now. So we have this huge and growing societal cost,
which is made worse by the fact that people without insurance don’t get
help until their conditions are serious and expensive. Obama has come
up with a way to control and reduce this cost, and Danish shoots it down
without telling us how he would pay for the tab of uninsured sick
people. And don’t tell us the free market will take care of it, because
it’s had multiple decades to get it right and hasn’t.

Brian Sherwin/San Diego,

equals death

On April 5, the
Daily Camera reported, “Timothy Leifield, wellknown for his work on
behalf of Boulder’s nonprofit and gay communities, died last Tuesday at
his Boulder home. He was 55.”

In fact, no one really
knows for sure what day Tim Leifield died. He was found dead in his
home on Saturday, April 4, and, presumably, the coroner estimated his
day of death to have been the previous Tuesday. He left an extensive
suicide letter, widely shared on the Internet, which is probably why “no
foul play is suspected.”

The Daily Camera chose to not report the death as a suicide,
presumably in deference to the wishes of his friends and family, and
instead described him as “the life of the party,” in the words of a
“longtime friend.”

is an ironic deceit. It harkens back to the days when young men died
from complications due to AIDS and newspapers censored this information
in deference to the wishes of friends and family. The irony is that Tim
dedicated his life to bringing AIDS out of the closet, encouraging its
open confrontation as director of the Boulder County AIDS Project and

Tim’s long suicide letter expressed no shame in his decision to kill
himself, nor any admonishment to sweep this under the rug. His only
admonishment is to “be kind, be kind, be kind.”

But then there’s the
question of what is truly kind. An immediate impulse is to shield one’s
friend from the cruel, gossipy world (Was he gay? Did he have AIDS? Is
he mentally ill? Did he commit suicide?).

But in doing so one creates the implication
that what this person is, or has, or did, is shameful — something

There are
two problems: First is the violence visited upon the individual deemed
to be shameful, whether for homosexuality (me and Tim), or mental
illness and suicide (Tim), or AIDS.

Tim expressed no shame in his mental illness or in his
decision to commit suicide. Treatment did not work, ultimately, for
Tim. But it does work for millions of other Americans who suffer from
mental illness, including tens of thousands who have suffered severe
trauma serving our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Second is the stigma
impressed upon everyone else.

Let’s say you read that a 55-year-old just happened to
have died, suddenly, cause unknown. And then you learn through the
grapevine or Internet that this was not so much a mysterious death as a
suicide, brought on by a lifetime of struggling with a bipolar disorder.
The message I receive is that suicide is shameful. Ditto mental

That is
exactly the message people inferred 25 years ago about AIDS or 50 years
ago about homosexuality. In the words of the early AIDS movement, which
Tim championed, “Silence = Death.”

Rick Cendo/via Internet

Editor’s note: Boulder
Weekly consulted with Leifield’s family before running this letter.

welcomes your
e-mail correspondence. Letters must not exceed 400 words and should
include your name, address and telephone number for verification.
Addresses will not be published. We do not publish anonymous letters or
those signed with pseudonyms. Letters become the property of Boulder
Weekly and will be published on our website. Send letters to: letters@boulderweekly.com.
Look for Boulder Weekly on the World Wide Web at: www.boulderweekly.com.