07/07/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Republican State Senator: Use Military Against Medical Marijuana Patients

During Colorado's legislative debates on medical marijuana, opponents have leveled some extreme "Reefer Madness"-type arguments against the rights of suffering and dying patients to use marijuana to alleviate their medical conditions. One of the arguments advanced by the prime sponsor of HB 1284, Senator Chris Romer, was that marijuana causes "psychosis," or "aggression." During debate on the bill, it seems the only ones developing "psychosis" or "aggression" were the politicians. Senator Scott Renfroe (R-Greeley), who says he supports individual liberties and touts his Christian beliefs, argued that military forces should have been called out to forcibly take away State-issued Medical Marijuana cards from patients who dared to gather on April 20 outside of Renfroe's Kremlin to peacefully protest Prohibition. Renfroe is evidently one of those Republicans who envisions the American government duplicating a scene from Tiananmen Square, where tanks advanced on peaceful protesters. I sent the Senator a letter asking for a retraction. His response is below.


May 7, 2010

Senator Scott Refroe
Colorado Senate
Denver, CO

Re: Your Call for Government Military Force Used Against
Coloradans Suffering from Debilitating Medical Conditions

Dear Senator Renfroe:

I called your office to discuss this with you in a civilized manner, but your
voice mail is full, so I write instead. Perhaps those who filled your voice mail
share my shock that a serving Colorado State Senator would, on the floor of the
State Senate, call for armed military troops to forcibly take away the personal
property (State-issued Medical Marijuana Registry Cards) of Colorado's medical
marijuana patients, peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights on April
20, 2010 at a permitted event in Denver's Civic Center Park:

I am baffled as to how a Republican who trumpets Christian beliefs and
alleges support of "small government, property rights, individual liberty, and
protecting life" would advocate -- even as legislative hyperbole -- the use of armed
government military force against people who are doing nothing worse than
exercising their constitutional rights to express opinions with which you may
personally disagree. Many of these suffering patients are disabled veterans who
served their country in wartime, and suffer from war-related debilitating medical

Your hateful words have caused widespread panic among Colorado's
patients, who already fear of the "auditors with guns" your colleague Senator
Chris Romer pledges to unleash on them through the passage of House Bill 1284.

Your statements do have one side benefit: you have helped expose the
contempt that many legislators have for the Colorado Constitution, Article XVIII §
14, protecting the medical use of marijuana for people suffering from debilitating
medical conditions. Thanks to you, Coloradans (and perhaps reviewing courts)
will be able to view legislative intent and motivation on this issue in the proper

The damage has probably already been done, but perhaps you can minimize
it if you act quickly and decisively. Thus, please immediately retract, in writing,
your utterly irresponsible and fearsome statements, and clarify that you do not
support the use of government military forces against peaceful medical marijuana
patients. I will be happy to help publicize your retraction if you provide it to me.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this important request, and please
do not hesitate to call me if you would like to discuss this further. My office
phone is 303-634-2244 and cell phone is 720-629-7112.

Robert J. Corry, Jr.
Attorney at Law
600 Seventeenth Street
Suite 2800 South Tower
Denver, CO 80202


From: Scott Renfroe
Sent: Friday, May 07, 2010 4:03 PM
To: Robert Corry
Subject: Re: Use of Military Against Medical Marijuana Patients


I received your letter. Sorry my voice mail was full. I checked it and none were on this issue.

I look forward to a truly civilized discussion that doesn't use the rhetoric...hateful, panic, contempt, irresponsible, fearsome.

Here is what I gave to the Post and have replied to emails with:

Thank you for the email.

What takes place on 4/20 is illegal. My intent was to illustrate the lack of respect for our laws by the protesters and the lack of enforcement of our laws by local law enforcement and our Governor. Protesters do not have to break the law to have their voice heard. That is all.

Our Colorado Constitution states no person shall engage in the medical use of marijuana in plain view of, or in a place open to, the general public... and the state shall revoke for a period of one year the registry identification card of any patient found to have willfully violated the provisions of this section.

With that said,

I do believe the use of medical marijuana for serious chronic illness for some people is proper. We had extensive testimony from disabled veterans, cancer patients, and others who were addicted to pain meds that marijuana helped.

I have problems with the "walk-in" model and recreational use that is happening under "chronic" pain. Let's be honest and admit that is what is occurring. I am not confident that this bill or SB10-109 addresses these issues or follows the will of the people under amendment 20 and the failed measure in 2006.

President Obama's Drug Czar Director R. Gill Kerlikowske gave a speech in March on marijuana legalization compromising public health and said. "Drug overdoses outnumber gunshot deaths in America and are fast approaching motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of accidental death."

He continued, "I recently met with officials from the Netherlands, they are closing down marijuana outlets because of the nuisance and crime risks associated with them."

He also stated, "And the science... is clear: marijuana use is harmful. It is associated with dependence, respiratory and mental illness, poor motor performance, and cognitive impairment, among other negative effects."

I support our Colorado Constitution and honoring the will of the people to allow people with a debilitating medical condition to use medical marijuana as a treatment.

I have concerns that HB10-1284 will not regulate to the intent of amendment 20 and expand the "walk-in" use. I was a NO vote.

Senator Scott W. Renfroe