Why is Colorado lawyer Rob Corry still permitted to practice law? And what else has to happen before he recognizes his life is a far greater cause to champion than marijuana legalization?
Mr. Corry, 46, is one of the nation’s prominent voices supporting marijuana legalization and among Colorado’s top pot lawyers, taking on everything from DUIs to the establishment of more than a dozen collectives. He has been arrested twice in the last four months — most recently Sept. 25 at Coors Field on suspicion of using marijuana in public and for disobedience to a lawful order. Some choice phrases from Mr. Corry, according to the Denver police report:
“No, I don’t have to, it’s legal,” — in response to officers who asked him to relinquish what appeared to be a joint.
“You’re a stupid cop. You are going to make this easy for me. You can’t search me, it’s only a citation.”
In June, Denver police also hauled in Mr. Corry for allegedly shattering the window of a recreational vehicle in Denver. He is set to be tried next month for destruction of private property and disturbing the peace.
Mr. Corry’s run-ins with the law didn’t start this year. He has served two jail sentences. In 1998, he was imprisoned for 40 days for brandishing a weapon after drinking heavily. That cost him his job with the U.S. House Judiciary Committee — as is explained here, in 5280 magazine. In January 2007, Mr. Corry pleaded guilty to third-degree assault — a class one misdemeanor that helped him avoid the legal status of “sex offender.” The attack happened while Mr. Corry was under the influence. A Jefferson County judge sentenced him to 60 days in jail, five years of probation and a substance-abuse evaluation.
As also reported in 5280 magazine:
Although the presiding judge accepted the plea deal, the sentencing hearing transcript leaves little doubt about how she viewed the evidence. In it, she slapped away the Corrys’ attempt to frame the case as being about adultery, saying that, although she hoped they could find a way to save their marriage, ‘It has nothing to do with this case. What this has to do with is that [Rob] chose to go into the room and physically and sexually assault a woman who did not want that.’ She added that Rob’s decision to sexually violate someone is why she ‘[could] not in good conscience allow [him] to walk out of the courtroom today,’ and she sentenced him to 60 days in jail, despite the defense attorney’s ardent request for probation only.
Mr. Corry is a co-author of the convoluted and loophole-ridden Amendment 64, which voters approved in 2012 to legalize recreational marijuana in Colorado. He’s now spearheading a campaign against taxation of the substance — taxation he trumpeted as a reason for voters to support the amendment in the first place. To promote his cause, he helped give free marijuana to hundreds of people who gathered Sept. 9 in Denver’s Civic Center Park to protest proposed taxes on the drug — which, according to 5280 magazine, he used for the first time at age 14.
First marijuana use at 14 probably says it all. Age 14-16 is a critical period for brain development, and we now know that marijuana can cause irreparable brain damage. It would be interesting to know what Corry’s life would have been if he hadn’t altered his brain with marijuana.
Yes, I agree Rob Corry does little to promote this issue these days. If he really was the defender of this issue, he would have sued the state for raiding the Medical Marijuana funds and dumping them in to the General Fund. This was clearly illegal according to the wording of Amendment 21. Mixing the joint giveaway with flood relief was in poor taste. But, the taxation issue is relevant. It’s excessive and the same goes for the states approach at regulation. People voted to treat this “plant” like alcohol. Based on simple market based standards, this level of taxation will keep recreational sales in the ever present black market.. Thus eliminating a large block of tax revenue. This isn’t speculation, it’s market based common sense. Want to see healthy tax revenues? Set a reasonable tax on recreational use and support the rising Hemp Industry, which in the end will dwarf the profits from recreational use.
Thanks for writing, Blair.
I’m really not interested in debating taxation structures — except to write that our country is poised to learn the hard way that no rate will ever be enough to recoup the social costs of marijuana legalization, and that even the lowest tax rates won’t curb black-market trade. Not even close — especially given that nearly 60 percent of Americans who try the drug for the first time each year are under the age of 18 (Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse).
No, let’s save the tax talk for another day because this post? It’s about a guy who appears to need help. He’s a divorced father. He has a criminal record that stands to grow even longer in coming weeks. He has lost at least one prominent job in connection with his substance use. A judge ordered him to undergo a substance abuse evaluation — so I’m not the first to suspect Mr. Corry needs to sober up. See that mug shot of his above? He’s the face of an addictive substance in more ways than one.
But I can’t decide who is more pathetic: is it Mr. Corry or the potheads who see the wreckage of his life and continue to maintain their beloved drug isn’t even addictive?
Who shall throw the first stone? Quite a bit of condemnation being bandied about here.
‘But I can’t decide who is more pathetic: is it Mr. Corry or the potheads who see the wreckage of his life and continue to maintain their beloved drug isn’t even addictive?’
I know MJ is addictive. So is processed sugar, a favorite TV show, exercise, stereotyping a class of people based off one exhibited trait, or even standing on a soapbox.
People are the way they are for a multitude of reasons, few of which lend themselves to extended analysis via police reports or statistical sets of data. While I don’t doubt that MJ played some role in the events described above, for you to assume it is the causation of such behavior at its root is shortsighted.
Perhaps we should not so easily assume that MJ is the causation of such domestic issues as the arrest record of Rob Corry, and instead understand it as a correlating factor that can point us to more pertinent questions about how we conduct ourselves, first as individuals and then as parents, friends, households, neighborhoods, schools, communities, cities, and a nation.
The comparison of marijuana addiction and the avid following of a favorite television show is dumb. So, really, let’s not even go there. But I’m glad we both agree marijuana is addictive — because it is.
I’m also glad we agree marijuana use played “some role” — I contend a significant one — in Mr. Corry’s outbursts. More generally, drug abuse is the recurring theme here. I would like to think Mr. Corry wouldn’t have landed in so much trouble over the years had he been sober — but maybe you’re right. Maybe Mr. Corry’s criminal behavior has absolutely nothing to do with his drug abuse. Maybe this is just who he really is — although I doubt it, especially because that hasn’t been the line of his various legal defenses.
Regardless of the hows and whys of his criminality, here’s to hoping he finds the help he needs to avoid yet another run-in with law enforcement because he has damaged and/or destroyed someone or something else.
And yes, I am all about carefully analyzing how we should “conduct ourselves.” At the same time, I know we don’t need to legalize marijuana — thus triggering massive problems for public health and safety that sorely compromise such analysis and reflection — to do so.
Please note that I removed your references to black-market sales and regulatory frameworks because I want to stay on topic — and they’re not it. Thanks for writing.