Reefer Madness

As the push for legally available medical marijuana has become the headline-grabbing, hot-button debate of the day, conservative attorneys Rob and Jessica Corry—no strangers to controversy themselves—have become the issue's biggest boosters. But are they the right people for the job?

March 2010

One Sunday in December, a hotel meeting room near the junction of I-25 and I-70 is packed for the Cannabis Holiday Health Fair. Dozens of plastic monochrome decorations—silver, black, and white icicles, orbs, and stars—dangle from the low ceiling, and beneath this space-age mistletoe the true believers mill about, soldiers in enthusiastic support of the cause. Although the object of their affection and devotion is officially unavailable, the unmistakable pungency of marijuana permeates the room.

Many registered Republicans would recoil at such a scene; the Corrys embrace it, as equally comfortable among suit-clad, American flag pin-wearing patriots as they are with tie-dyed hippies. If you advocate personal freedom, question accepted notions of morality, and are suspicious of an overzealous government, the Corrys will always have your back. In medical marijuana, they have found a complex, contradictory, and sometimes inscrutable issue, which is why having this complex, contradictory, and often inscrutable duo as its most vocal champions might just be the perfect marriage.

When it comes to politics, Rob and Jessica will forever be of one voice, even if someday the Corrys split into two. Because while they may not have a "till death do us part" view of marriage, they do share a conviction that keeps them fighting for marijuana patients' and dispensaries' rights in places like Centennial, where the Corrys ended up winning a ruling that allowed their clients to reopen their business, although the city has since erected more procedural roadblocks. This fervent, sometimes reckless devotion to their political beliefs is the Corrys' one true love, that thing that keeps them plugging along, case by case, until, as they like to say with one of their favorite showy sound bites, Americans no longer have to live under this repressive era of marijuana prohibition.

That's why, in this room full of political lefties, the right-leaning Rob Corry is a hero. He inches through the crowd—followed by two men filming his maneuverings for a documentary—because everyone wants to pay tribute, ask his advice, or snag an autograph. There are copies of the February issue of High Times floating around, and several people ask Rob to sign theirs because he's mentioned in an article about Colorado's marijuana movement. He's careful to keep two copies for himself. Back home, he and Jessica keep baby books for their two girls that chronicle everything Mom and Dad do—well, almost everything—while their daughters are too young to remember, so maybe one day they'll see how their parents tried to help make their kids' world a little bit better. The books include the standard stuff: family pictures, clippings, and other keepsakes. They also include Jessica's pro-marijuana column and pictures of the parents and children with prominent political figures—and soon they'll include copies of High Times, one for Cate, one for Caroline. "I want to give these to them," Rob says as he signs another autograph. "So maybe someday they'll think I'm cool."

Luc Hatlestad is a senior editor of 5280. E-mail him at [email protected].