The 68-year-old man Paul Disnard moved to Aspen, Colorado in 1967, and says he doesn’t know anyone who doesn’t live in Aspen. Disnard has oxygen tubes hooked up to his nasal paths, he moved to the Whitcomb Terrace assisted-living facility when oxygen stopped being delivered to his mountain cabin home.
While living at Whitcomb Terrace, Disnard consumed cannabis to treat his arthritis — an act considered dangerous to the safety of his fellow residents. Now, after a Pitkin County Court judge ruled against Disnard, he was forced to vacate Whitcomb Terrace and find a new place to live.
When the presiding Judge Erin Fernandez told Disnard that “You Must have some place to go,” the defendant responded simply:
I really do not.
According to the Aspen Daily News, “The Midnight Mine cabin he owns is basically worthless, and friends do not want him couch-surfing, he said, adding he has no place for his possessions.”
While a tough result for Disnard, he was not without warning: he was repeatedly told to cease his “risky behavior.” On February 1, Aspen Valley Hospital informed the senior citizen of imminent eviction proceedings, giving Disnard 60 days to find a new home. On April 11, the Aspen Valley Hospital again served him notice to vacate his residency; three days later, the ASH filed the official eviction motion.
Now, after the judge’s ruling, Whitcomb is on the streets for consuming cannabis in a state with legal weed — but in a facility that prohibits smoke.
The issue, in this case, isn’t whether or not Disnard consumed cannabis — he certainly did and the facility repeatedly warned him to stop. The issue, according to Whitnard, is his right as a resident of Colorado to consume cannabis.
Whitnard, who represented himself in court, told the judge that “I do consume marijuana. But most of the time I was accused of it, it was on my clothes, the essence of it was on my clothes.”
Moreover, Whitnard offered a pretty sensible explanation for his consumption:
It’s better than taking opiates. I thought this was all Colorado and that it was legal to have it.
While the senior’s words ring true, the private facility also maintains its own rules and regulations. Thus, sadly, that reasoning did not help the senior citizen’s case.
The director of Whitcomb, Maggie Gerardi, noted that smoking at a facility where other senior citizens also use oxygen could cause an explosion.
Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett