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Things get prickly on county's pot panel

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Task force member accuses fellow volunteer of making threat

By Ramsey Scott

Things are anything but mellow on Jeffco's marijuana task force.

Ronn Nixon, a paralegal and cannabis advocate, said former CBI head and fellow task force member Bob Cantwell threatened him physically after a tense meeting on July 21.

Nixon said Cantwell felt that he'd been rude to the chair of the 14-member group, Lakewood City Councilwoman Ramey Johnson. 

“Bob said to me, ‘Smart off to Ramey one more time, and I’m going to get out of my seat and kick your ass.’ I replied, ‘That sounds like a threat, Bob,’ ” Nixon said. “Bob said to me, 'You’re just an a--hole with an opinion.' " 

Cantwell said he spoke with Nixon about his behavior toward Johnson but that he didn’t recall making a physical threat.

“I thought he was being very rude and unprofessional to (Johnson) as the chairwoman,” Cantwell said. “After the meeting was over, I walked over to him and I said, 'I think you were very rude and unprofessional.' I told him, 'I think you owe her an apology.' He got upset. … I don't even recall saying that to him.”

Nixon reported the incident on July 22 to Jeffco Director of Development and Transportation Jeanie Rossillon, who organized the task force, and asked about the policy for filing a formal complaint against another member. In a series of e-mails, Rossillon replied that the county had no formal policy and that Nixon should file a complaint with the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office. 

Nixon said the Sheriff’s Office couldn’t be trusted to conduct an impartial investigation because it has a representative on the task force and the office opposes retail sales of marijuana in the county.

Johnson said Nixon and Cantwell are valuable members of the task force and that she values their contributions to the discussion.

The 14-member task force was created last spring and is trying to prepare a recommendation on whether the county should allow retail sales of marijuana, in the wake of state voters' approval of legalizing the drug.

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine. Check www.columbinecourier.com for updates.