Nederland rides medical marijuana to prosperity, then watches the bottom fall out

Kathleen Chippi (Image: Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project)

Colorado is used to boom and bust cycles, and it wasn’t hard to see this one coming. Nederland over the past few years has been the poster child for medical marijuana, at one point with a dispensary for every 100 residents.

Today Nederland is down to about one dispensary per 500 residents and the city’s tax base has gone the same direction.

As the poster child, it is isn’t just the locals who notice what goes down in Nederland. The Sacramento Bee this week published a major feature article on the ups and downs of Nederland’s marijuana trade.

From The Sacramento Bee:

he Green Rush has gone bust in the town Rolling Stone dubbed “Stonerville, USA.”

Kathleen Chippi, who runs the One Brown Mouse boutique but recently shut down her medical marijuana dispensary and smoking room, cursed as she blamed the government.

“I refuse to give up my … constitutional rights to the Colorado Department of Revenue,” she fumed, indignant over what she called intrusive oversight and abusive taxation of marijuana.

Chippi is not one to just complain
about losing her rights. Along with several others, she has filed suit against the state, alleging among other things that medical marijuana rules passed in the last legislature are unconstitutional.

Among the things she and the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project find unconstitutional are limiting caregivers to five patients, requiring caregivers to do more for their clients than simply provide medical marijuana and denying caregivers the right to make a profit from their work.

Robert J. Corry, Jr., an expert on Colorado medical marijuana law, who is providing amicus support to the lawsuit, said “This lawsuit will give Colorado’s suffering medical marijuana patients a fighting chance to obtain their doctor-ordered medicine at a reasonable cost, with a reasonable selection, while protecting their privacy and their constitutional rights. The massive regulatory regime created by HB 101284, HB11-1043 and SB 10-109 is without precedent in America, and it is a violation of the law.”

Attorney Andrew Reid, representing the plaintiffs, said the state has another week or so in which to respond to the suit.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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