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Vague marijuana laws can get Colorado dispensers arrested

In Colorado even if you can legally grow marijuana, police can still charge you with growing it illegally. For the state to do that your cultivation has to fall outside allowable limits. That is how two licensed dispensers came to face felony charges for growing marijuana.

The two answered their arrest with a lawsuit against the state for what they call a vague law. Colorado's original medical marijuana law allows each registered user to grow up to six plants, but that could be difficult and costly for some users to do correctly. When the state established licensed dispensaries it allowed legal users to designate a primary dispensary. That marijuana dispensary could then legally grow the plants on behalf of the client.

So, the law allows licensed dispensaries to grow six plants -- and only six plants -- for each client identifying them as a primary provider. The state claims that the two dispensers grew more plants than this permitted. The lawsuit claims that the law is vague regarding when they can start growing the plants. There was no intention to grow more than the allowable number of plants.

Their attorney says that it is not clear if dispensaries can begin growing the plants as soon as clients apply, if they have to wait for approval, or if they have to wait even longer. He has contacted the Colorado Department of Revenue seeking several definitions of terms. Their answer called several of his questions vague, or related to different circumstances. It claims the attorney cites a clause regarding patients moving from one "primary center" to another. The attorney seeks a judicial order for the Dept. of Revenue to clarify the law.

Source: The Denver Post, "Vague medical-marijuana rule led to criminal charges, lawsuit alleges," John Ingold, July 10, 2012

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