Thursday, September 24, 2009

Colorado Medical Marijuana News

Who really wrote Colorado's medical-marijuana law?

By Joel Warner in Follow That Story, Marijuana
Tuesday, Sep. 22 2009 @ 1:10PM

Colorado's flourishing medical marijuana industry, with nearly a hundred
pot dispensaries statewide servicing thousands and thousands of
marijuana patients, got its start in 2000, when state voters legalized
medical marijuana by passing Amendment 20. But who was the ganja genius
who came up with the amendment? Most people in the scene point to Warren
Edson, one of three main lawyers who consult with Colorado dispensaries.
Based on Edson's portrayal of his role during a January 2009 interview,
Westword's called Edson Amendment 20's co-author, as have several other
newspapers. What's more, Edson refers to himself as one of the
amendment's organizers on websites for his law practice and "Medical
Marijuana 101," an education program he helps teach.

Martin Chilcutt begs to differ, however. Chilcutt, now executive
director of the Michigan-based Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access,
was formerly a Colorado-based psychotherapist who helped launch the
medical-marijuana campaign in the 1990s and is listed as one of
Amendment 20's two proponents. "I'm the guy that started it," says
Chilcutt. "This guy Warren Edson, I've known him for fifteen years. I
consider him a friend, but every time I read in the newspapers about it,
they always refer to him as the author of the amendment. He had nothing
to do with it." The only legal work Chilcutt says he ever paid Edson for
involved an unrelated real-estate issue.

The lawyer Chilcutt says he did pay to work on Amendment 20 was
Denver-based Mark Grueskin, who also says he has no memory of Edson
working on the issue. "I don't know if I've ever met Warren or had any
conversations with Warren," Grueskin says. "I can tell you that the
drafting process included conference calls in which quite a number of
people were participating. I don't recall Mr. Edson was one of those
people, but I suppose it's possible."

It's more than possible -- it happened, says Edson. He insists the first
meeting held to consider the medical-marijuana initiative was held in
his Lakewood office in 1997 or 1998. In the lengthy back-room dealings
that followed, Edson says there were lots of major players involved,
including representatives of national organizations like the Americans
for Medical Rights. If some people don't recall Edson being a part of
it, he says they're likely to "know me as the long-haired attorney with
a ponytail."

"None of us authored it," concludes Edson, who adds that Chilcutt only
had a partial role in the finished project and that Edson himself, as a
legal volunteer, "injected maybe five words into the sucker."

So what will history say regarding Colorado's founding fathers of pot?
Maybe it won't. With the way things are going, students will be too
medicated to read their textbooks.

http://blogs. westword. com/latestword/ 2009/09/whos_ to_praise_ or_blame_ for\

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