District Court Judge Todd Plewe issued a restraining order Wednesday to bar the 32nd annual Colorado Invitational Bong-A-Thon marijuana competition from taking place next weekend near Stoner.
Plewe’s 14-day order against bong-a-thon organizer Chris Jetter and Montezuma County business partners Frank McDonald and Ted Clark essentially prohibits the marijuana competition from taking place as planned from July 31 to Aug. 2. It also grants law officers authority to use reasonable and appropriate means to enforce the court’s decision.
“Based upon what the county has presented ... and their exhibits, I’m going to find that there is a basis to enter a temporary restraining order,” said Plewe, citing the defendants’ failure to comply with land-use codes.
Security was tight as Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin dispatched six additional deputies to Wednesday’s hearing. After the 20-minute hearing, a relieved Nowlin said he would post a deputy on the bong-a-thon site during the days scheduled for the event to notify ticket holders that bong-a-thon had been canceled.
“We won’t be searching any vehicles,” Nowlin said.
Initially set in a first-floor courtroom, Wednesday’s injunction hearing was moved to a larger courtroom on the second floor after nearly three dozen people arrived.
Jetter was never officially served with the injunction, but Montezuma County attorney John Baxter said officials made multiple efforts to notify him of the injunction request. Neither Jetter nor his attorney attended Wednesday’s hearing.
“We emailed (Jetter) a summons,” said Baxter, clearing the way for the proceeding.
Last month, Montezuma County commissioners denied a land-use permit for organizers to hold North America’s oldest marijuana event outside Stoner. Officials opted not to approve the permit, citing an incomplete application and lack of time to notify the public.
According to the bong-a-thon website, ticket holders will be notified of the event’s new location, within a 2.5-hour drive of Denver, via email. For the past six years, the annual competitive bong event was held in South Park.
Project Stoner Colorado, an effort of McDonald’s to create a cannabis-conscious community in Montezuma County, remained listed as a bong-a-thon sponsor as of Wednesday.