A Colorado woman was denied a medical marijuana dispensary license because of her prior conviction for prostitution. And now she's suing.
Melody Kenyon, the potential pot-repreneuse, was denied the license because the law requires the operator of a dispensary to have "good moral character," reports Coloradoan.com. Kenyon is suing the city of Fort Collins, claiming the sex act that got her convicted was actually part of a Hindu religious ceremony.
Can religious claims allow Kenyon to start the a-pot-hecary of her dreams?
'Moral Character' in Question
The first stumbling block for a convicted prostitute in Colorado who wants to obtain a license to sell pot is, as always, the law.
Colorado law requires that licensed medical marijuana dispensers:
- Have "good moral character,"
- Be 21 years of age,
- Be a resident of Colorado,
- Have no felony convictions in the last five years, and
- Have no felony drug charges in the last 10 years (except possession of marijuana is OK).
Kenyon is upset that her 2012 conviction for prostitution in Nebraska, a misdemeanor, is being counted against her "good moral character," reports Coloradoan.com. Her conviction is not a felony, but it is often considered a crime of moral turpitude.
'Good Moral Character' and Sex
While it may seem provincial to think that all prostitution denotes a lack of moral character, most states consider crimes related to prostitution as a red flag in a moral character application. A bad moral character evaluation, criminal convictions or no, may keep a former prostitute from becoming a lawyer or even immigrating to this country.
Even professionals who are known to have used sex workers' services with no arrests or convictions can lose their licenses for lack of "good moral character."
Since Kenyon was denied her medical marijuana dispensary license based on her moral character application, she is suing the city of Fort Collins claiming that her prior conviction was part of a Hindu religious ceremony. Rev. Dr. Don Hauck, president of The Universal Light Inc. of Cincinnati, wrote Kenyon a letter of support claiming that her tantric sex practice in releasing her client's "wand chakra" was the act of an ordained, certified practitioner, reports Coloradoan.com.
Kenyon's suit alleges that the city is being hypocritical about her criminal record, since even state-sanctioned marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
She's absolutely correct. But "two wrongs make a right" is a terrible place to start any legal argument.
- Admitted prostitute says 'moral turpitude' shouldn't stop her from opening pot shop (United Press International)
- Heidi Fleiss Now a Madam of Marijuana? (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice)
- OK to Fire Medical Pot Patients: Colo. Court (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- WA, CO Marijuana Laws: Will DOJ Really Back Off? (FindLaw's Blotter)