After a raid by Denver police last month, Grassroots Colorado—which operates a clothing store and a private pot club called The Break Room—is now facing eviction.
According to Westword.com, before Grassroots Colorado owner Ryan Connolly even had a chance to fight allegations against his business, “the City of Denver used nuisance abatement accusations to pressure the landlord to serve Connolly an eviction notice.” He has until July 1 to vacate the building.
“The city was correct in accessing that Ryan would be vulnerable if they went after the landlord—and regardless of the strength of his claim, he’ll be out of the property,” Connolly’s attorney Jeff Gard told Westword.com. “And that doesn’t only affect his business. It affects the other private membership clubs that are operating in Nederland, Pueblo and Colorado Springs. And when the government attacks one private membership group, it’s really going after all of them. This really comes down to a fundamental issue. Do we have the right to freely associate and act lawfully?”
Regardless, Connolly isn’t going down without a fight.
My name is Ryan Connolly and I founded Grassroots Clothing and The Break Room private member club.
As recreational weed became legal, our customers began coming into our storefront asking where they could consume their legal weed. It was happening so often that we decided to convert another space in the back of my shop to a private smoking club so that like-minded members could come together to enjoy weed in private. Each of our members is over 21 yrs. old and agree to abide by the terms and conditions of private membership before being admitted as a member. We also made sure that the members were fully aware that they must BYOB (bring your own bud) and were prohibited from selling any of their weed to another member. It has been our mission to keep weed private and in a safe environment away from kids and the public.
On 4/19/2015 the Denver Police Department came into our shop and shut us down in what seems to be part of a large law enforcement crackdown over the 4/20 holiday. For some reason I received tickets for operating a marijuana business without the proper paperwork and for not complying to the clean indoor air act . Our building is zoned for mixed-use and we have two units in it. One for retail and one for the private smoking club. We do not believe that a private membership club is either a business or subject to the clean indoor air act.
Public vs private consumption of marijuana is still undefined in Denver and law enforcement is resistant to recognizing the legality of private consumption by private club members. We want to re-open the Break Room, but we want to do it legally. We have decided to close down the break room until we get further clarification from their city about their public vs private labels.
We are asking for your help in order to assist funding our defense against the state. We also need assistance paying for the Break Room staff members’ employment while it is not in operation. Money collected past our goal will be used to lobby the state legislature to change our current legal system in order to formally allow private smoking clubs and to expand our current Break Room to other cities and hopefully other states one day!
For us, we happen to believe that in the state of Colorado we should be given a private safe place to smoke and keep weed off the streets. No we are not tripping over money from all the water sales and 3 Day Memberships we were selling and yes we put our necks on the line and are now asking for those who believe in our fight to support us so we can keep this fight going..