Denver Lawyer Loses Liability Insurance over Mmedical-marijuana Clients

By | Colorado Medical Marijuana Law, General Medical Marijuana Information, News | No Comments

5/13/2012 By John Ingold The Denver Post

In what appears to be a first-of-its-kind event nationwide, a Denver lawyer has lost her liability insurance because part of her practice involves representing medical-marijuana businesses.

Ann Toney’s insurance company told her last month that it will not renew her malpractice coverage. In its terse notice, the Hanover Insurance Group explained that Toney’s practice “does not meet current underwriting guidelines because of the following risk factors: Area of practice involving medical marijuana.”

Toney, a former prosecutor who has taught classes on medical-marijuana law for the Colorado Bar Association, said she was surprised. Most of her work representing medical-marijuana businesses came one or two years ago, when the state’s laws for such businesses were in flux.

She said she has always advised clients that marijuana sales remain illegal federally and made sure her clients are in compliance with state medical-marijuana law.

“You represent people under the laws of Colorado,” she said. “What’s the alternative? No one’s going to get any help following the law in Colorado?”

Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said he knows of no other lawyer to lose insurance because of work with medical-marijuana businesses.

“We’re certainly afraid we’re going to start seeing more now,” St. Pierre said.

He said 625 lawyers nationwide are members of NORML.

Toney’s nonrenewal started brewing earlier this year, when she asked to add a new lawyer to her firm’s coverage. The insurance company asked for more information about Toney’s work in the medical-marijuana field. T

oney replied that 70 percent of her practice involves drunken- and drugged-driving cases, with the remaining 30 percent consisting of criminal defense and medical-marijuana business representation.

Hanover’s nonrenewal notice followed Toney’s response.

Toney said her insurance broker has told her that she will have a hard time getting new insurance because she was dropped by a previous carrier.

Still, Toney said she is confident she can find another carrier willing to take her business.

“I’ll find coverage,” she said. “My only question is, How much more is it going to cost me?”

John Ingold: 303-954-1068 or jingold@denverpost.com

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Economists say U.S. would save billions if pot was legal

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MSN Now Wednesday, April 18, 10:45 am :

Where there’s pot, there’s gold. So conclude more than 300 economists who say that the government — if it got out of the business of enforcing marijuana laws — could save a whopping $7.7 billion annually. Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron also figures there’s another $6 billion to be mined each year by taxing the drug at rates similar to booze and tobacco. The economists, who have signed a petition, don’t exactly go as far as Miron in suggesting pot be legalized but maintain that it’s high time, so to speak, for an “open and honest debate.”

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US Attorney Continues Medical Marijuana Crackdown

By | Colorado Medical Marijuana Law | No Comments
5:37 PM, Mar 23, 2012 Written by: Chris Vanderveen

BOULDER – Colorado’s top federal prosecutor has made good on his promise to continue his crackdown on the state’s medical marijuana industry.

On Friday, US Attorney John Walsh sent letters to the owners of 25 medical marijuana dispensaries telling them they had a month and a half to either shut down or face the possibility of prosecution and property seizure. All, he said, are located within 1,000 feet of a school.

Two months ago, Walsh sent out similar warnings to 23 dispensaries.

“I would say to any medical marijuana dispensary owner whose facility is within a thousand feet of a school that they will be receiving this letter,” he told 9NEWS in January.

Friday’s round of warnings, according to a news release put out by his office, represents a “second phase of an initiative to close all marijuana stores within 1,000 feet of schools.”

The letters, according to the release, formally notify “them that action will be taken to seize and forfeit their property if they do not discontinue the sale and/or distribution of marijuana within 45 days from today.”

Walsh was unavailable for comment on Friday.

This all comes at a time when the Boulder County District Attorney is continuing to ask Walsh to halt the ongoing crackdown.

Last week, Boulder County DA Stan Garnett wrote a letter to Walsh asking the feds to focus their resources elsewhere.

“The people of Boulder County,” he wrote, “do not need Washington, D.C. or the federal government dictating how far dispensaries should be from schools.”

He added that prosecution of dispensary owners acting within the confines of state law serves “no practical purpose.”

This week, Walsh responded with his own letter to Garnett which said that he respectfully disagrees with the state prosecutor’s opinion.

“I believe that enforcing federal law to protect our children and young people from drug abuse is not only a legitimate use of federal resources, but a core responsibility for me and this office,” Walsh wrote.

Garnett said on Friday that he will hold firm with his position.

“I think there are other laws that could be enforced that would actually help us with public safety and not just be symbolic window dressing which this seems to be to me,” he said.

Marijuana, medical or not, remains illegal under federal law. In 2000, Colorado voters approved the limited use of medical marijuana.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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