Video surfaces of Sonnenberg tearing up Colorado marijuana patient protection amendment
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 9:26 am
A video has been released by the 420 Coalition that captures Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, ripping up a bill amendment that would have eliminated videotaping of customer purchases of marijuana from dispensaries.
The video shows Sonnenberg on the night of a committee hearing on HB 1043– a bill bringing increased regulations to the marijuana industry– asking a man who calls himself Cap’n Cannabis to stop videotaping a discussion between Sonnenberg and a number of regulatory and law enforcement employees about his amendment.
After the man refuses to stop videotaping, Sonnenberg moves to go to his office. Later, reaction to Sonnenberg’s desire to hold a meeting away from the camera brought Sonnenberg back into the public space. Reaction to Sonnenberg’s move to go into a closed-door meeting included statements made by activist Miguel Lopez.
“Secret police, secret police. No transparency in government here,” Lopez said.
Sonnenberg tells Lopez that he is trying to help the medical marijuana advocates, saying his amendment would scotch plans to videotape patients buying their meds. More words were exchanged, leading Sonnenberg to rip up the amendment and throw it in the trash.
“Miguel blew up that there was no way I could help him. So, I tore the amendment up, tore the amendment up and said I’m done. I threw the amendment away,” Sonnenberg said.
Lopez told a similar story, though he said he was not the one who “blew up” in the exchange.
“Apparently one of the lobbyists was making a backroom deal to get rid of one of the cameras and we were asking for transparency and they didn’t want to include us. So Rep. Sonnenberg turned around and ripped it up in front of us, with really I would say inappropriate candor for a state house official,” Lopez said.
Sonnenberg told the Colorado Independent the day after the event that Lopez had been kicked out of the capitol after spitting on Medical Marijuana Industry Group lobbyist Kara Miller, who is also seen in the video confronting Lopez after Sonnenberg tells her he’s no longer going to try and pass the amendment. Lopez said he didn’t spit on anyone and was not tossed out of the capitol.
The video shows no spitting.
Miller told the Colorado Independent she had no comment on the incident.
The following video contains some strong profanity. It also contains pro-medical marijuana statements from the 420 Coalition.