The Next State In The Federal Government's Crosshairs Is Colorado

In recent months, the federal Justice Department has engaged in concerted efforts to crack down on the proliferation of medical cannabis related activities in states that allow for its therapeutic use under state law, including California, Montana, and Washington.
Now, according to a CBS News report, the next state on the federal government’s ‘hit list’ is Colorado — arguably the state with the most comprehensive and stringent statewide regulations governing medical cannabis activities. These regulations explicitly license state-authorized cannabis dispensaries, of which there are now some 700 operating statewide.
Nonetheless, the imprimatur of the state apparently carries little if any weight with the Obama administration at this time — despite promises (reiterated before Congress just last week by US Attorney General Eric Holder) that such prosecutions are “not a (federal) priority” and that the Justice Department only intends to target those entities who “use marijuana in a way that’s not consistent with the state statute.”
Predictably, today’s CBS special report tells a different story.

Crackdown On Colorado’s Medical Pot Business On The Horizon
via CBS News Denver
Federal authorities are planning to crack down on the medical marijuana business in Colorado on a large scale for the first time.
Warning letters will be going out to dispensaries and grow facilities near schools, CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger has learned. So far it’s not clear how soon that will happen.
Dispensaries that receive the letters will be given 45 days to shut down or move operations. If they don’t comply, they will be shut down by the U.S. attorney in Colorado.
The dispensaries who are set to be targeted are the ones that are located within 1,000 feet of schools. That measurement is being used because that distance already appears in federal law as a factor in drug crime sentencing.
The move comes after the Justice Department sent out a memo clarifying that marijuana has been and remains illegal under federal law despite what has taken place with state regulations. Colorado is one of 16 states where medical marijuana laws have been approved.
Many of the state’s dispensaries that are closer than 1,000 feet to a school have already been approved to be there under local laws. They usually have been grandfathered in.
… Robert Corry, an attorney who represents dispensaries, said medical marijuana operations are now strictly regulated under Colorado state laws.
“The federal apparatus here has better things to do,” said Corry. “My reaction would be the federal government is essentially declaring war on the voters of our state (who) passed a Constitutional amendment.”
U.S. attorneys in California recently announced in a separate medical marijuana crackdown that they would be targeting landlords who rent retail space to dispensaries, as well as dispensary owners themselves.

Does anyone really believe that this is an appropriate use of scarce federal resources? Or that these actions are in any way consistent with Obama’s public pledge to cease utilizing “Justice Department resources to try and circumvent state laws on this issue?” I didn’t think so.

If the federal government is truly concerned about the diversion of
medical marijuana or its potential abuse in states that have authorized it then it would be better served to encourage — rather than to discourage — statewide and local efforts to regulate these actions accordingly. The Obama administration’s enforcement actions in California, Colorado, and elsewhere will only result in limiting adults’ regulated, safe access to cannabis therapy. It will also cost local jobs and needed tax revenue, and likely result in hundreds — if not thousands — of unnecessary criminal prosecutions.
Legislating medical marijuana operations and prosecuting those who act in a manner that is inconsistent with state law and voters’ sentiment should be a responsibility left to the state and local officials, not the federal government. It is time for this administration to fulfill the assurances it gave to the medical cannabis community and to respect the decisions of voters and lawmakers in states that recognize its therapeutic efficacy.

125 thoughts

  1. I have to wonder if the Feds can offer up any proof that the way Colorado is currently handling their marijuana laws has caused any problems that we should all be concerned about. If not, then they should leave them alone!
    Obama said it’s time for a discussion about the war on drugs. So when is that going to happen? The American people, according to all the latest polls, are really disgusted with our Govt: Dems and Reps!
    I really really wish Ron Paul would have ran as an independent… Still, given the chance, he will get my vote. God Forbid that Newt Gingrich becomes our next president!

  2. I don’t get it. That memo from the U.S. Department of Justice in October of 2009 (commonly referred to as the “Ogden Memo”) said the feds could go after anyone in compliance with state law any time they wanted to. What promise did they break? I don’t think distortion of the truth is going to get us anywhere and it certainly diverts attention from where it ought to be on states demanding their right to have marijuana removed from its current federal classification as having no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. In the last big U.S. Supreme Court decision, the U.S. Supreme Court even said it was likely that marijuana is misclassified under federal law.

  3. Someone needs to tell Obama and Holder and al of Obama’s appointed leaders of FBI and DEA that if they dont stop, Obama will NOT be re-elected. It would be the only way if the Rebuplicans have any say. Hell, most Dems aren’t voting for Obama…..OR tell Obama that if he doesnt legalize medical or decrim, then he does NOT need to run for re-election and to step out of the race.

  4. The marijuana prohibition of the US represents of of the greatest crimes against humanity in history.
    Any politician that supports prohibition of marijuana and the draconian laws that it uses to kill and imprison people should be brought up on Crimes Against Humanity charges by Mexico, Columbia, the US, and any other country whose citizens are killed, imprisoned and otherwise terrorized by these outdated and barbaric laws that continue to defy the will of the people.

  5. All the feds are doing is continuing too support drug cartels and terrorism. They will only drive prices up and send good citizens back in the shadows. They are trying to weaken the Legalization movement, but it won’t work they will not stop US! I can’t wait until 2012 election when one or more states LEGALIZE IT! What will the feds do then? There will be sooo many pot smoking tourist the’ll be no way to stop it.

  6. Its time for “We the People” to put our collective feet down and demand term limits for all federal offices. Our founding fathers did not envision professional politicians who enrich themselves and further their own agendas. Professional paid lobbyists need to be banned also.

  7. Obama has largely dodged questions on medical marijuana throughout his first term. If he wants a second term, he will need to be more clear about his stance on medical marijuana and whether he’s willing to stand in the way of the DEA interfering with state laws and chronically and terminally ill patients. With the vast majority of Americans supporting medical marijuana, it is likely that the Republican candidate will challenge him on what has transpired. We are living in an anti-government age, especially an anti-federal government age. Obama will need to recognize that.

  8. Come on isn’t it obvious what the feds are doing here? They know there’s going to be marijuana legalization referendums on the ballot in 2012. So they’re hitting the industry as hard as possible to decrease support through both fear and by taking away money that could be donated to the cause, that instead goes to relocation costs and court costs…On the bright side that means that they’re scared that it may pass this year, and they may have misjudged the results of their actions……

  9. These 16 states need to come together and file a lawsuit against the federal government. Completely ridiculous that in the recession that we are in, that the federal government would attack the tax revenue of these states. More states need to pass laws in support of medicinal marijuana, then petition to have an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, protecting the citizens individual rights to their own lives.

  10. I could agree on the 1000 ft. But they had better make sure there are no pharmacies 1000ft from a school, that would be too hypocritical. I’m personally firm on regulation of MMJ. What the federal government is looking over is they can’t even control the drugs they do approve. For example: Vicodin; more people than ever are selling their prescriptions to minors and adults. Not just that its highly addictive mentally and physically. And it can constipate you as well as ruin vital organs if abused without medical provision. Another prime example for them to look at is alcohol. Far too easy for a minor to get a hold of. It actually is proven to kill brain cells, slow down metabolism, and more. The use of MMJ hasn’t been proven to do so. Don’t forget that all these different ways to “Crack Down” on the marijuana war are there to protect the federal governments money. They have so much invested in this war they’re not just gonna let it pass, because we the people can profit from legalization more than they will. Honestly if I was getting thousands or millions to look the other way so the federal government could do what they want and launder our taxes through this so called war, then, ya I wouldn’t want the war to stop either. The federal government has spun it self in its own web. The only reason I clearly see for them getting away with any of this war is we the people gave them too much power. The people need to stand up and say enough is enough and take America back. There are so many people in high positions of authority who will not stand with us because of payoff’s or the fear that someone above them will chop off their head, so to speak. Have you ever noticed that the highly respected people of our nation who speak out with those of us for legalization are retired or used to be’s? Just some food for thought. Keep pushing, we will get our breakthrough. Just not anytime soon. Be smart and safe. Study to show yourself approved to make the right choices.

  11. Hey Obama! Why don’t you waste your time trying to get re-elected-You’ve already wasted your time trying to act as president! You are a threat to all Americans and the ideas behind a FREE country. We The People don’t want you around any more. The states have spoken-leave them alone!

  12. De fund the war on drugs (ops, cannabis), and put it into something people care about, I don’t know, maybe jobs.

  13. This just makes me hang my head in shame. How are we supposed to trust anything our leaders say anymore. They say what they want us to hear to vote for them, then turn around and do the exact opposite. Its just another example of why are government is failing.

  14. Its kinda funny. It looks like the feds are running out of ways to demonize cannabis. These crack downs are a last ditch effort to dislodged the movement.

  15. The fact that a government would denie the cannibis plant to its citizens i feel just proves that its agenda is not at all about whats best for our country and its ppl and the economy. But only prove what an out of control gov they have become.and they absolutly know the benifeits of this plant it is a miracle plant that can benifeit humanity so much health-mental-industry it solves so many problems we have today.But gov is not really in the business of solving problems are they? More like creating problems or certainly dont want to support anything that they cant CONTROL.. FREEDOM-LIBERTY what a joke!!! Thats not the gov we have today

  16. Where I live, in Iceland it is illegal to be high!! The PoPo is stopping drivers left and right to demand they come for urine tests immetiatly, even blood-tests whithout having to justify it better than We thougt perhaps it was a change that someone was high in the car, so we get the driver!! Would love to get the passengers, and sometimes try to make that happen. Sad situation, cause here we have some bad ass weed. Yebb. way up in Iceland we still manage to pull it off, but with high alert security from the “farmers”. Wish you all well in your fight for your rights! Peace Out. Erna

  17. I have a fear that the American public will be coerced into a modified War on Drugs after we, as a whole, start asking serious questions.

  18. Is this the promise Attorney General Eric Holder had made to the nine former members of Drug Czars and Head Administrators of the DEA when they paid Holder a visit after the Ogden and Cole memos?

  19. They did it in Cal they will do it here in Col. This is just the start.They want to declare marshal law in the border towns of Texas. They are going to be entering your home with out a search warrant. And yes under marshal law they can do that. I know 2 tx boarder agents and they been talking about it.

  20. So did this story result from a leak of some memos like the California memorandum on the site not too long ago?
    Wow, WikiLeaks is totally excellent!
    DEA is still up to its dirty old deeds. Dirty Old Bastard(s)! Proves there’s no good faith effort to be read into their California memoranda.
    Delaware and Rhode Island can saddle up and set up their state medical cannabis plot-to-purchase systems as they see fit since there are no federal policy guidelines until the pols in D.C. get their shit together. That’ll show them ain’t nothin’ like nobody gives a shit when 3 more states dis you.
    Stop wasting money! Let’s move to a more open society. The zeitgeist is for ever increasing personal freedom, not restricting it.
    Please get Polis et al. on it.
    Just cut the DEA and ONDCP budgets so they can’t enforce cannabis prohibition if Holder and Obama are too wussy to issue a formal memorandum to call of the anti-cannabis enforcement.

  21. We need to take the DEA out of the picture altogether through legalization.
    Nothing will help patients and medical research more than legal cannabis and hemp.

  22. Ok here is the official line from Vermont Senator Leahy.
    Dear Mr. Fran:
    Thank you for contacting me about decriminalizing marijuana. I appreciate hearing from you.
    In the past two decades, states across the country have repeatedly passed legislation making it possible to prescribe or recommend the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Despite existing state laws, marijuana is still a Schedule I drug under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and federal agencies, such as the Drug Enforcement Agency, continued to enforce federal laws, even where state laws allow for the use and possession of medical marijuana.
    On March 18, 2009, Attorney General Holder announced that the Department of Justice would shift its policy to end medical marijuana raids. This is a big step toward ensuring that decisions made at the state level are not preempted by federal officials. It will also free up important federal resources to focus on the drug traffickers and dealers who maliciously poison our streets.
    However, in general, I do not believe that illicit drugs should be decriminalized. I believe the public health and public safety implications of decriminalizing addictive and mind altering substances outweigh any potential benefits gained by increased tax revenue.
    Should any legislation on this issue come before the Senate, I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind. Thank you again for contacting me.
    United States Senator
    Here is my response:
    Dear Senator Leahy,
    Thank you for responding to my concerns regarding the misclassification of Cannabis under Federal law. I understand your concerns with the perception of profiting from the decriminalization of cannabis. Later in this e-mail i will address this issue.
    As a registered patient in Vermont, I can relate my personal experience to you at this time. I am 55 years of age and have had a total hip replacement on my left side since the age of 19. I have chronic severe back pain and damage to the sciatic nerve and could barely walk for a month this year. I have run the gamut of A.M.A. approved treatments for my various conditions. The State of Vermont considers me to be disabled. I find cannabis works for relief of pain caused by several of my medical issues. I no longer am forced to rely on the prescribed narcotic pain medications for day to day relief.
    You write:
    “However, in general, I do not believe that illicit drugs should be decriminalized. I believe the public health and public safety implications of decriminalizing addictive and mind altering substances outweigh any potential benefits gained by increased tax revenue.”
    I respond:
    I have been prescribed strong narcotics for the relief of chronic pain. These medications are addictive, and can be mind altering. We currently take tax dollars from the pharmaceutical companies profits. Should we outlaw these medicines for the reasons you have stated? I consider alcohol and tobacco to be dangerous. Using your logic these drugs should be classified as illicit. Please explain why the prescription drugs which do have negative effects on the health of the patient are legal when cannabis which currently is considered to be illicit.
    You write:
    “On March 18, 2009, Attorney General Holder announced that the Department of Justice would shift its policy to end medical marijuana raids. This is a big step toward ensuring that decisions made at the state level are not preempted by federal officials. It will also free up important federal resources to focus on the drug traffickers and dealers who maliciously poison our streets.”
    I respond:
    I agree that we need to free up our important federal resources. The recent raids on Medicinal centers seems to contradict Attorney General Holders statement. Additionally recent DOJ letters indicate a reversal of the policy decisions that you have noted. This matter is of some concern.
    You write:
    “In the past two decades, states across the country have repeatedly passed legislation making it possible to prescribe or recommend the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Despite existing state laws, marijuana is still a Schedule I drug under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and federal agencies, such as the Drug Enforcement Agency, continued to enforce federal laws, even where state laws allow for the use and possession of medical marijuana.”
    I respond:
    In my initial correspondence with your office I asked specifically for you to sponsor legislation to re-classify Cannabis to Schedule II.
    Please take action to correct this misclassification.
    Thank you for your time and energy and service to our country,
    Mr. Fran

  23. The huge number of medical marijuana patients with medical conditions that will need to be treated in prison is enough to prevent the Feds from going after the patients.
    The patients will simply have to go back to acquiring their pot from the criminal, underground market and out on the streets.
    The demand will still be there because the medical conditions will still be there.
    So instead of putting the death knell into the criminal organizations (Mexican or other mafia or criminal network) that use violence to settle their disputes while state compliant cannabis outfits are making American jobs, the Feds are, after they polish off the easy pickings of the lowhanging fruit going to have to fight, boots on the ground, the gangs and cartels. Somebody please tell me where the fuck the money and the salaries for the civilian law enforcement platoons is coming from!
    Some courage. You can’t beat them, but you can beat the nonviolent upstanding people in the medical cannabis industry. Call that takin’ your vitories where you can get them. Is that really somethin’ you want to stroke your ego with?
    I just don’t see putting sick people in prison going over well with the public. You gotta pay for their health care in prison because if you just put them in prison to die it becomes more like a Vernichtugnslager.
    Lower their bond ratings if the Feds shut them down! It’ll cost more for them to borrow. The public affected by it won’t be happy to hear their taxes pay back less. Get that loudmouth Christie to whip the Feds into cannabis legalization submission. He’s not running for president, and he ain’t takin’ no shit from nobody.

  24. the Colorado State Government needs to kick the FEDS out.
    Tell Terrorist Holder and his little Terrorist Attorney Thugs to get the hell out,, or go to jail, make it an executive order of the State.
    If that don’t work, then load the weapons and lets take em down at their homes. Merry Xmass Terrorist, take this >>>>>>>>

  25. I am currently looking at a lifetime of being hooked legally on opiates due to a back problem. I have served this country. I have been in the enforcement of it’s laws. WTH has Obama done? I will tell you what he and his cabinet is doing, draining my American Pride! Canada looks better by each day that passes. I will wait to see if Dr. Paul gives Obama the boot though before I make a decision to leave and become free to use or stay and become a criminal by using a natural plant. I don’t even want the so called strong stuff. Just basic MJ to help ease my verifiable pains. Montel Williams, I really feel for you too.

  26. harm being put upon the Law-Bidding people of America by the Muscle-brained-Terrorist-US-Attorney .
    –same as–
    The ‘bully’ issue in the public schools and the social networks for young people.
    solution,, stop the bully. period. end of issue.

  27. It pains me deeply to say this: John Doe, of John Doe Radio, I told you this was coming. Feds don’t care how you regulate. Your position assumed Feds were reasonable.

  28. If this hoop la is about the 1000foot provision, every owner or operator should have know that. A student of mine, had his car searched while illegally parked at a nearby church during the school day. The police paced off the distance to the car through two other businesses to the car to determine if the few roaches, that were discovered, were located within 1000ft of a “drug free school zone”. (caffine and high frutose corn-syrup allowed”

  29. if you guys are angry with obama then take a look at the other two leading runners… newt gingrich appraises countries who execute drug offenders and mitt romney who laughs at a medmarijuana patient in a wheelchair and tells him he wont support medmarijuana. check videos on youtube

  30. On the news lately is a point that our Federal government is working to privatize drug enforcement around the world. They are not working toward decriminalization or legalization. They are working for their buddies and an increased world drug war. The war in Iraq is over. The war in Afghanistan is slowly winding down. It’s time to ramp up other worthless boondoggles that never end and make comapnies fabulously wealthy.

  31. What it comes down to, the pharmaceutical companies are seeing a decrease is sales, which means the politicians are seeing more outright bribes from the pharma lobbyists. We’re all screwed. Who has the money to compete with them? As long as lobbyists have immediate access to our politicians, while WE have to write them, the desires of the companies will ALWAYS outweigh the NEEDS of the people. F this country, F these crooked politicians, and F ANYONE that votes dem or republican. There MAY be one exception, and that is Dr. Paul, but i think we all know what would happen even if he WAS elected. POP POP POP….and the NEW president is…

  32. In Ohio,we are preparing to circulate a petition to bring about medical cannabis. I have to say though,observing what is going on in California,and now in Colorado it does make me feel discouraged.

  33. Why aren’t we protesting and petitioning?? We are the 50%!! let’s take it to the streets!! who’s with me?? twitter-crymsonkyd;facebook-crymsonkyd;

  34. On another note, the “rise in marijuana use for children” is not a good thing for our movement. LA Times just put a piece out and right at the start of the article clearly put, “because of medical marijuana”. Clearly those who have the slightest bit of intelligence and hindsight know that with lowered risk perception comes higher use. It always has been, and always will be that way. Simply blaming medical pot for the sudden, but almost subtle, uprise in teen marijuana use has a lot of falsehood.

  35. The Feds stirring up the pot (pun intended), is not good for public approval. I do think it was rather considerate that they put school zones as a basis for busting dispensaries, and its hard to argue with that. However, the bust on a dispensary from the federal government is much more extreme than necessary. Hopefully these efforts will encourage citizens to vote.

  36. This is a coordinated attack by the DEA, with somewhat limited resources, to suppress the medical cannabis industry across every MMJ state. Considering the recent revelations from court documents, we know that the DOJ / DEA / BATFE were illegally facilitating the shipment south to Mexico of firearms, the shipment north from Mexico of illicit drugs, and the laundering of Mexican drug cartel money in USA banking institutions.
    Forcing medical cannabis patients back into the narcotics black-market for their medicine would seem to favor increased volume & profit to the drug cartels.
    Isn’t the USA supposedly in an expanded war on drugs in Mexico?
    Wouldn’t forcing patients into the black-market provide the exact opposite effect on the fiscal health of the drug cartels?
    Is it possible that the USA government is deeply involved in illicit drug trafficking, and that the Mexican war on drugs designed to eliminate some drug cartels (competition) in order to consolidate the cartels into those which are favored?
    Isn’t this possibility the real basis for the infamous quote from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that ” … there’s too much (illicit) money involved for it (marijuana) to ever be made legal”?

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