By Kate Klein, LAW WEEK COLORADO
DENVER — The Colorado Court of Appeals will hear a critical case regarding medical marijuana dispensaries Tuesday. People v. Clendenin originated in 2006 in Boulder’s County trial court.
Most significantly, the case is likely to provide precedent for how Colorado defines a “primary caregiver.”
The People, represented by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, argue that the primary caregiver must personally know the people that they grow marijuana for. The opening brief states that a caregiver must have “significant responsibility for managing the well being of a patient—[which] requires a relationship beyond providing marijuana.”
A response brief from the Stacy Clendenin’s attorney, Robert Corry, counters this idea of significant responsibility as unreasonable. Corry makes the analogy that much more serious pharmaceutical drugs do not lie under the same strict definition.
Corry argues that “the State does not address in its brief Ms. Clendenin’s commonsense and apt analogy between medical marijuana caregivers and pharmacies, which supply even harder narcotics to thousands of Colorado patients every day without face-to-face meetings between patients and those in the production chain.”
Other arguments to be made Tuesday will include a challenge of probable cause for the original search warrant; issues of vague language in statutes surrounding medical marijuana; and unfair prevention of Clendenin to bring forward numerous people to testify on her behalf in the trial court.
On Oct. 6, 2006, Boulder police searched Clendenin’s home and discovered 44 total marijuana plants. The Boulder trial court did not allow Clendenin to bring forth proof of medical marijuana documentation for all the patients she grew for. In trial court Clendenin was convicted of felony criminal charges for the marijuana grown in her home.
Clendenin is herself a medical-marijuana patient.
The case will be heard by appeals court judges Alan Loeb, Robert D. Hawthorne and Nancy J. Lichtenstein.
Separately, the Colorado 420 Coalition, which identifies itself as the lead group in Colorado for legalizing marijuana, is inviting the public to pack Tuesday’s hearing, according to Westword. Although this is an uncommon request, the 420 Coalition wants to show support for Clendenin because the courts have been particularly vague on medical marijuana laws recently.