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Marijuana: Colorado Pot Advocate Ken Gorman Killed Saturday, Days After Local News Station Did "Exposé" On Him

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #474)
Consequences of Prohibition
Politics & Advocacy

Colorado marijuana activist Ken Gorman, 59, was shot and killed in his Denver home Saturday night in an apparent home invasion robbery. The killing came just days after local TV station CBS4 aired a report on him that included shots of marijuana plants growing inside his home. Gorman grew the plants legally as a registered medical marijuana patient, but in the report, Gorman was seen advising avowed non-medicinal marijuana users how to use the medical marijuana laws to be able to possess the plant with impunity. As of Thursday, no arrests had been made and police said they were still investigating.

Ken Gorman's web icon
Gorman was one of the most well-known faces in the Colorado marijuana and medical marijuana scene. He was also a member of DRCNet. Gorman had organized several smoke-ins at the state capitol, as well as giving numerous lectures and making public appearances supporting the medical and recreational use of marijuana. He also ran for governor on a pro-marijuana platform.

According to witness accounts, three masked men entered Gorman's home with guns drawn Saturday evening. Shots were fired, police were called, and they found him lying on his living room floor with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was pronounced dead shortly after.

While Denver police refused to speculate on whether the killing was related to Gorman's legal medical marijuana grow, fellow activists had little doubt that he died in an attempted robbery. "It's pretty amazing that this guy worked his entire life trying to make marijuana legal and in the end, the fact that marijuana is illegal is what led to his death," Mason Tvert, executive director of SAFER, an organization dedicated to legalizing small amounts of recreational marijuana, told the Denver Daily News. "It's safe to say that if marijuana were legal Ken would not have been killed," Tvert said. "I think it's a violent incident highlighting what happens when marijuana is kept illegal."

Gorman himself had told CBS4 just a few weeks ago that he feared being robbed because of his openness about his marijuana operation. "I mean, I've had a gun stuck to my head, people stabbed in my house from people trying to get my marijuana," Gorman said on January 31. He added that his home had been burglarized 15 times.

Gorman will be missed. "I've been in patient meetings where patients stood, with tears in their eyes, and said, 'When no one would help me, Ken Gorman would,'" said Brian Vicente, executive director of Sensible Colorado, a nonprofit organization that advocates for drug policy reform in Colorado. "You don't hear that, that often," Vicente told the Daily News. "He was a character."

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

Sounds like a no knock raid gone bad. Personally after the past 10 years of lawlessness in the law enforcement industry I would not put it past the local cops to have done this themselves as some half ass vailed attempt to make marijuana look dangerous just to be around, proving that they are right in their overlord ways to protect us from ourselves. Would not surprise me one bit. Will be interesting to see if the cops arrest anyone in this case. Sad story but than so long as we have the need for websites like this one we will continue to hear more and more.

I really wish this site COULD just go away.

Fri, 02/23/2007 - 11:02am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Here's a little eye opener that you won't find on the Partnership for a Drug Free America website. Every drug arrest that culminates in a felony conviction represents one more voter who will not be welcome at the polls for a long time because of their liberal views on drugs. People who have liberal views on drugs probably have liberal views on other things as well. The conservative right wing nazis have been systemically disenfranchising their political enemies for decades by vigorous enforcement of drug laws that are based on lies and racism. So forget using referendums to change things and don't expect to have an honest government until prohibition ends. They aren't waging war on drugs....they are waging war on the American people. How can it NOT be an act of treason?

Sat, 02/24/2007 - 2:48pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

This is no local raid gone bad. He was under federal investigation and with only wasted tax dollars, the DEA did the only thing they could do to stop him.

Tue, 10/16/2007 - 12:06pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Another tragic casualty of marijuana's illegality... Whether he was murdered by cops or by robbers, Ken Gorman is dead because of the marijuana laws.


Fri, 02/23/2007 - 11:21am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Gorman always had an attitude that he was above everyone else, and he could get away with anything. He set a horrible example, and (in part) brought this upon himself.

As to the "Sounds Fishy To Me" post . . . get real. Come down off the grassy knoll.

Fri, 02/23/2007 - 11:26am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

First and foremost drug laws are unconstitutional. The constitution states our god given right to do what we want with our property - NOT the government. Our bodies are our property and drug laws are UN AMERICAN. If you don't like the constitution YOU can leave the country my friend.

Secondly if you are going to say that this government has never done anything to harm us intentional you are living in a dream world. Giving syphilis to black Americans, having soldiers watch atom bombs go off to see the effects of radiation on them, agent orange in Vietnam that gave soldiers cancer and that the government said was safe, DU weapons over in Iraq and Gulf War Syndrome, and the list goes on and on. You're the only idiot here idiot.

Fri, 02/23/2007 - 12:31pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

You sir are the idiot. To wish death upon another is evil, you are like hitler or any other who takes life, such as Dahmer, Gacy, People in Power. the point is your wrong on so many levels that the word idiot only applies to you. his civil discord at the status quo enforced upon a voting public who has changed the laws in the right are now at risk from other elements. unsoavory as yourself. It wold have been a rather healthier agenda to allow patients let us fantasize for a moment at the Botanical gardens for patients, guarded for the patient. The my friend and POW in the drug war as we we at rallying points together as well as brothers in arms at Canon City. The Colorado version of the Shawshank Redemption with no changes in the set!
Wwe fought the good fight and continue to fight the good fight. You if living right now when old George and Ben and Thomas were around you would be the pecker working for the King and Queen. You speak treason against our founding fathers and God who created the plant and also Ken Gorman, may god rest his soul and be the First Patron Saint of the Drug War in Colorado. to no longer be able to write in his undying efforts to get things set straight for all of those who walk in our fore father's steps, bravely righteously, with aour agenda out in the open plain to see, unlike the government and all of its lackeys who folllow orders, knowig the bitter bread and butter they earn with the 30 shekals of silver these micro juda's get, and sleep in the freedom that is growing more thorns by the day as people like me prune and care for the world and those around us. You my most ignorant author are the IDIOT!

Sun, 02/25/2007 - 6:00pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

It wouldn't be the first time the "authorities" did something like this, so it is just as idiotic to ignore the possiblity as you think it is to consider it.
A persons "attitude" shouldn't consign him to death. just like your attitude in calling someone an idiot just for their opinion. Free speech and all that. :oP

Fri, 02/23/2007 - 11:38am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

We want marijuana legalized so that incidents of this nature will never happen again, but at the same time we should be prudent and wise. I teach college students, and you better believe that I don't promote our beliefs in the classroom. I do that elsewhere.

RIP, Mr. Gorman.

Southern California teacher

Fri, 02/23/2007 - 11:54am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Ken was a moderator on Here is a link to the tribute forum. Ken's outspokenness is what gave him the vigor to do what he did best - educating people. He will be missed.

Fri, 02/23/2007 - 4:53pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Sure, getting hundreds of people to yell "f@#$ you" to former Governor Bill Owens was just a tad controversial. But then again, Republican Bill Owens and Democrat Salazar actively and publicly took stances against CO mmj laws, even though CO voters loudly said that sick people should be allowed medicine.

What's worse? A collective "f@#$ you" or state Governors and Attorney Generals subverting and undermining state law?

Owens and Salazar openly threatened to arrest anyone using CO mmj laws to treat their pain. Owens and Salazar's actions were a hearty "f@#$ you" to their most vulnerable constituents and to Colorado law. We need our elected officials to respect and to follow our state law, not take a big dump on it (current AG's black and white portrayal of these laws on CBS 4's "shine the light on me" sting was mean-spirited, myopic, and irresponsible).

When our elected officials, like our current AG, work to dismantle and subvert the laws we have voted in place, there is something very wrong with our so-called Democracy. We the people of Colorado must speak out for the laws of our state against the radical, fascistic actions of tools and fools like Owens.

No matter what the cause of Ken's death, let us make sure that our collective voice gets stronger and is never silenced. Ken would want us to keep pushing for laws and democratic practices that truly reflect the American vision of liberty and justice for all.

Mary Warner

Fri, 02/23/2007 - 5:01pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

The vast majority of our so called leaders give a collective "f@#$ you" to the citizens every day!!! However some people are incapable of seeing the reality of that.

It's so sad when people don't even know they aren't free.....all the while claiming they are......all the while licking boots and marching in lock step to they're masters every demand.

"well if you aren't doing something wrong then why not have gov't camera's in your toilet" --- Lock steppers

I really don't know whether to laugh at them or cry for our demise.

Fri, 09/28/2007 - 1:58am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Behind the scenes, what is happening to the state of Colorado that makes our elected officials, like former Governor Owens and former AG Salazar, turn on innocent, sick people? Why do we allow politicians like Salazar and current AG Suthers to shit on our state laws?

Hopefully, our new governor has the critical thinking skills to see that if marijuana has been medicine for 5,000 years, there is a very good chance that it is indeed medicine now. Maybe he will actually read some of the medical reports.

Salazar especially needs to apologize to the sick, dying and critically ill of our state for his active subversion of Colorado law (amendment 20). His weak editorial about going after the hard drugs first - and then sick people's medicine - was another slap in the face to our intelligence. Does he really think he is the smartest person in the room? I've witnessed stronger critical thinking skills from MOST young children.

Many democrats voted for Salazar, thinking he would respect our laws. But Salazar is just as bad, if not worse, than Owens. Another Joe L., still trying to impress the other side with his machismo and "tough stance" on medicine.

Just a bunch of "Slickster Dunces."

Mary Warner

Fri, 02/23/2007 - 6:56pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

It appears to me that the present drug laws are a clear violation of a precedent set during the trial of John Peter Zenger. It was established in a judicial framework that laws cannot be passed to prohibit actions or behavior because they will produce adverse consequences. Like not allowing civil rights protestors to march because it might piss people off and cause them to perform unlawful acts, like beating the crap out of the protestors. The same type of fractured logic applies in the "war on drugs" People are not allowed to use substances that will produce "reefer madness", ergo, they should be incarcerated for their own good and the good of the community that will be placed under threat by individuals who will become crazed and dangerous. To outlaw a plant is itself foolish, but if one were to be outlawed it should be castor beans from which deadly sarin gas can be distilled.

Sat, 02/24/2007 - 7:12pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

when martyred for the our sacred sativa we get to live for eternity in her bliss and with her spirit.

Enjoy her Ken.

Sun, 02/25/2007 - 10:21am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

We're losing the war on drugs worse than we are the war in Iraq. We've been in a second prohibition for 35 years and it isn't working any better than the first. Too bad Ken Gorman was murdered. I wouldn't put it past a cowboy cop to have pulled the trigger.

Sun, 02/25/2007 - 2:36pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The legal but deadly drug alcohol is accepted as normal, but the much safer drug pot is illegal? Way past time to wake up.

Mon, 02/26/2007 - 7:53pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Having personally met Ken and used his services i can tell you this was most likely a gang hit. Ken was a good man but he had a lot of seedy connections. As much as i would love to blame it on denver p.d. i know to well that he had been put in serious physical danger before when being robbed and most likely this had something to do with it again.

Mon, 02/26/2007 - 8:33pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Ken was a great man. I'd known him from his smoke-ins at the capitol
since 1992. I did not always agree with his tactics, but they worked for
him, at least until the end.

Spread the word:

First Annual Ken Gorman Memorial Smoke-In
State Capitol Building
Denver, Colorado
Friday, April 20, 2007

Thu, 03/01/2007 - 12:21am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

According to Ken's obituary;

"A public celebration of Ken's life will be held 4/20/07 at City Park Pavilions at 4:00 p.m."

Which one is official?
City Park or Capitol Building?
Who's in charge of them?


Tue, 04/17/2007 - 4:46pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

This is both scary and sad. I was listening to an update on this story on the news tonight and the police still have no suspects in this case. Of course the debate that will divide the community is, "Was he murdered by fascist cops or by other drug dealers?" Both scenarios are equally terrifying. People need to chill out a little bit so this kind of thing doesn't keep happening.

Mon, 03/05/2007 - 10:05pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

i miss my dear friend ken. he was a good man, im sure all you that had the honor in knowing him will agree. may you rest easy dear friend.

Sat, 11/24/2007 - 7:13am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

thats my great uncle....

Sun, 02/17/2008 - 3:39pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

To recognize the 1st year of Ken's death we have set up a Memorial Site.

In many ways the Governor, aka Ken Gorman, was greater than life. He had a special calling to educate people tirelessly about marijuana. We did not always agree with him, but you had to admire his dedication. The memorial site is broken into the following areas:

Home Page - A press release has been submitted to the wires spelling out that the Governor's case is not actively being pursued. (url: )

His Mission - Talks about his mission and he how he recognized his calling of activism. (url: )

His Life - Talks about his life in general (url: )

His Death - Talks about how his murderer has not been brought to justice and includes sample letters that one can use to send a letter to governmental officials expressing their concern that there is a murderer still loose among us. (url: )

Call to Action: - This has a comprehensive list of Denver contacts of people in power. Contracts range from the governor of Colorado to councilman in the precinct where Ken Gorman lived. Many of these contacts include email addresses and web form locations. (url: )

We know that Ken Gorman was a threat to many politicians and they are thankful that he is gone. Ken spent many, many, hours in setting an example for us. Take some time out of your schedule and write a few emails, or send a few letters, or fax a politician on what you think about the fact that there is no progress being made in his death. Ken did so much for us, so let us do something for him.

Other Areas of Interest on the Memorial Site

Videos -

YaHooka - Memorable posts and quotes from Ken Gorman.

Photos - Photo and Pictures relating to Ken Gorman.

Also, if anyone has any pictures or videos they would like placed on the memorial site please sent them to me at: friends at kengorman dot org. And if you personally knew Ken Gorman please contact me as well.

Wed, 02/20/2008 - 3:25am Permalink

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