A Boulder County District Court judge refused on Friday to stop Longmont from enforcing its ban on medical marijuana businesses, denying the city's dispensaries a preliminary injunction in their lawsuit.
"Turn off the 'open' sign," Longmont Apothecary manager Jason Hicks said softly into a cellphone after Judge Ingrid Bakke's ruling. Bakke found that the dispensaries did not have a constitutional right to operate under Amendment 20 of the Colorado Constitution, nor a protected property interest that could be guarded by an injunction.
The ban took effect at 5 p.m.
The judge acknowledged that the decision would hurt the dispensaries. There was testimony that one had spent two years developing some of the marijuana strains it would now have to let go.
"I very much sympathize with you," Bakke said, "but you are very much victims of developing law that even to this day is in a very gray area."
Longmont City Attorney Eugene Mei said he was pleased with the judge's ruling, which allows the city's ban to go forward. The City Council banned marijuana-related businesses in May, originally effective July 1. The actual date was delayed for more than a month and a half, first by a failed attempt to put the ban on the November ballot as a referendum, and then by the lawsuit and a temporary restraining order.
"We had a strategy," Mei said. "We implemented a strategy. And today is the day — at least for now — that the strategy has come to fruition."
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Website: Longmont medical marijuana shops lose bid to stay open during lawsuit